(b. 1609, San Giovanni Bianco, nr Bergamo, d. 1670, Bergamo)

The Vision of St Felix of Cantalice

Oil on canvas, 250 x 200 cm
Chiesa San Giorgio Martire, Nese

The painting represents the mystical apparition of the Virgin Mary to St Felix of Cantalice, a humble Capuchin friar who died in Rome in 1587 and was beatified in 1625, and who had been venerated as a saint even before his death. The painting was commissioned by the nobleman Giuseppe Raspa, whose striking likeness at the age of eight-two is visible at lower right, next to the family crest. The patron's wrinkled face and long beard appear so truthful and alive that they project a shadow onto the parapet in the foreground that separates the divine space from the earthbound. The artist's realism is evident not only in the portrait of the donor but also in the face of the Virgin, based on that of Ceresa's wife, and of the sullen cherub on the right, for which their seven-year-old son was probably the model.

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