(b. 1563, Pisa, d. 1639, London)

St Cecilia and an Angel

Oil on canvas, 88 x 108 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington

St Cecilia is the patron saint of music. As such she is usually shown playing a violin or organ. Gentileschi depicts her accompanied by an angel who holds a sheet of music.

Gentileschi was among the first artists to embrace Caravaggio's insistence on painting directly from the posed model. The identity of the models who posed for St Cecilia and an Angel are not known but they appear in a contemporary altarpiece, The Vision of St Francesca Romana.

It has been established by X-ray radiograph that Gentileschi left the painting unfinished, completing only the heads and busts of both figures as well as St Cecilia's bodice and skirt. The painting was finished by Giovanni Lanfranco.

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