GREUTER, Matthias
(1564-1638)

Beatus Philippus Nerius

1606
Engraving, 85 x 40 mm
Biblioteca Vallicelliana, Rome

Mathias Greuter was a German (Alsatian) printmaker working in Rome.

From the beginning, a great deal of emphasis was placed on Filippo Neri's (1515-1595) affective spirituality, the spirituality of the heart. In this print by Matthias Greuter of 1606, for example, Neri is shown with his hand joined. Flanked by two angels and illuminated by a ray of light, he has turned his gaze upwards. The one on the right, clutching a lily (a symbol of purity), points to his portrait, while the other holds up a burning heart, its flames leaping into the air. He lays his left hand on his breast, where the blessed fire of sacred love was thought to blaze. Thus the true faith the saint embodies is represented as a form of feverish ardor.