CRESPI, Giovanni Battista
(b. ca. 1575, Cerano, d. 1632, Milano)

St Gregory Delivers the Soul of a Monk

Oil on canvas
San Vittore, Varese

Gregory's Dialogues (4:40) tell of a monk from whom the last rites were withheld by his abbot because he was found to have hidden, three gold coins in his cell. By his prayers Gregory secured the release of the monk's soul from purgatory. Angels carry the monk's soul to heaven.

The visionary and dramatic violence of the leading painter in the group known as the Seicento Lombardo places the episode connected with the mass into the background. Instead, all eyes are on the turbulent vision that links Purgatory in a spiral leading upward to the light of highest Heaven.