MAGNASCO, Alessandro
(b. 1667, Genova, d. 1749, Genova)

Sacrilegious Robbery

Oil on canvas
Quadreria Arcivescovile, Milan

The painting illustrates a crime committed on January 6, 1731. Thieves were trying to force an entry into the church of S. Maria in Campomorto at Siziano (Pavia) to steal the holy vessels used for mass. They were seen off by skeletons which issued from the graves in the surrounding cemetery. The macabre scene is a large votive piece. The events are watched by the Virgin who we see in the top right-hand corner organizing the skeletons' sortie and decreeing the punishment for the thieves, who were subsequently hanged. The canvas belongs to the church where the attempted sacrilegious robbery took place but for safety reasons it is kept in the Diocesan Museum in Milan.