(b. 1616, Napoli, d. ca. 1656, Napoli)
The Ecstasy of St Cecilia1645
Oil on canvas
Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte, Naples
This is the beautiful cartoon that Cavallino painted when he was blocking out the most important commission of his career, The St Cecilia Altarpiece now in the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence. The final version, however, does not possess the same freshness and immediacy as the cartoon. As this is one of his few works that we can date accurately, it forms an important watershed in his oeuvre. Cavallino's work was terminated abruptly when he died at just 40 years of age during an outbreak of the plague.