SACCHI, Andrea
(b. 1599, Nettuno, d. 1661, Roma)

The Vision of St Romuald

c. 1631
Oil on canvas, 310 x 175 cm
Pinacoteca, Vatican

Romuald (c. 952-1027) was a Benedictine monk who entered the Order as an act of atonement after his father had murdered a relative. Finding the monastic life of his day in need of reform he founded communities that were vowed to solitude and silence, of which the best known was the monastery of Camaldoli in the Appenines near Arezzo. Romuald is old and white-bearded and is dressed in the habit of the Camaldolese Order, a striking loose-flowing white garment with wide sleeves. He holds a crutch.

It was said that Romuald dreamed, like Jacob, of a ladder ascending to heaven and that the monks of his Order were going up it clad in white He is seated with his brethren under a tree, pointing to the vision in the background. It was after this dream Romuald declared that the Order should henceforth be dressed in white.