CARRACCI, Annibale
(b. 1560, Bologna, d. 1609, Roma)

Translation of the Holy House

c. 1605
Oil on canvas, 250 x 150 cm
Church of Sant' Onofrio, Rome

This painting is the altarpiece in a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Loreto by Cardinal Ludovico Madruzzo, titular cardinal of Trento from 1569 until his death in 1600. It depicts the Translation of the Holy House, which, according to the miraculous narrative, reached present-day Loreto from Nazareth on the night of December 9—10, 1294, after a period of three years during which it was twice moved by the angels. This place, chosen by the Virgin as the final destination for the translation of her house, immediately became the object of particular devotion.

In the painting the Virgin is seated on the roof of the holy house, which is borne in flight by three angels; she is crowned by two other angels. The child Jesus, who sits on her knee, pours water to give relief to the penitents, who can be seen below in the flames of purgatory.

The study of the painting after the recent restoration brought to light that at least two hands executed the painting. Annibale must have conceived the general layout of the altarpiece and then left it to his assistants, Domenichino in the first place, while reserving for himself the right to intervene on the composition's focal point, the figures of the Virgin and child.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.