Work Miracles of Saint Maurus during his Journey through France
Department of Prints and Drawings: 18th century
Miracles de saint Maur pendant son voyage en France
Musée du Louvre, dist. RMN-Grand Palais - Photo S. Nagy
Prints and Drawings
This highly finished drawing depicts several groups of sick people healed by the touch of Saint Maurus. It is a preparatory sketch for one of the four paintings in the abbey of Mont-Cassin commissioned by the Benedictine monk Erasmo Gattola, chief archivist of the abbey-church at the time. It is extremely close to the painted version, which was destroyed in 1944 but is known to us through a photograph.
Drawing, bozzetto, canvas, and replica
Solimena's participation in this monumental work took place between 1697 and 1708. His contribution included the frescoes in two chapels and four large canvases in the choir, including the Miracles of Saint Maurus during his Journey through France. The bozzetto for this painting (Budapest) and a replica (Toulon, Musée des Beaux-Arts) feature a composition at an identical stage to that of the drawing, with just a few small variations. The main changes are in details, such as the drawn donkey replaced with a man, the position of the seated figure on the far right, and the group above the donkey's head; in the bozzetto, it appears as in the final painting.
Solimena - the inventor of a moderating, anti-baroque artistic approach based on a quest for a form of naturalism, yet paradoxically one of the great figures of baroque art - was one of the most active and successful painters in Naples in the first half of the 18th century. Under the influence of Giordano and Preti, his style became increasingly classical, echoing the tastes of his times.
Preti or Giordano?
His relationship with Preti, although they never met, was of a diverse nature. Certain characteristics of the latter's art are constant features in Solimena's paintings. While Giordano was the leading figure of the Neapolitan school throughout the first half of his life, Solimena appears to have been more interested in the art of another contemporary - the only other stylistic choice possible, given Giordano's monopoly in the field, but also because Solimena was drawn to the precision drawing and monumental figures of the Roman school in which Preti was trained.
BibliographyVitzthum W., in Le cabinet d'un grand amateur. Pierre-Jean Mariette (1694-1774) : dessins du XV siècle au XVIIIe siècle, Paris, Musée du Louvre, 20 avril-31 décembre 1967, n 134.
Solimena A. e F. : Due culture a confronto, cat. exp. Nocera Umbra ; Salerne, Soprintendenza, alle Antichità delle Province di Salerno, Avellino e Benevento, Milan, Franco Maria Ricci, 1990.
De Martini V., Braca A., Solimena A e F. , due culture a confronto, actes du congrès, Nocera Inferiore, 17-18 novembre 1990, Naples, F. Fiorentino 1994.
Miracles of Saint Maurus during his Journey through France
Between 1697 and 1708
Brown wash, yellow-brown wash, black chalk
H. 21.5 cm; W. 47.3 cm
Pierre-Jean Mariette Collection; sale of the latter, Paris, November 15, 1775 and the following days, part of no. 721; purchased for the Cabinet du Roi
Due to their fragility, works on paper are not on permanent display in the museum.
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