(b. 1703, Molfetta, d. 1766, Napoli)

St Margaret Mary Alacoque Contemplating the Sacred Heart of Jesus

c. 1765
Oil on canvas, 171 x 123 cm
Private collection

St Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690) is rarely represented in art. She suffered a crippling disorder from which she was healed after a vision of the Blessed Virgin, and subsequently became a nun. She popularised the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the bleeding heart is chosen by Giaquinto as her symbol in this painting.

This canvas exemplifies Giaquinto's painting technique perfectly. His dazzling brushwork is especially evident in the glowing vision of the Sacred Heart, which is skilfully rendered in the transparent layers of delicately coloured glazes that are the hallmark of Giaquinto's mature style.