(b. 1518, Venezia, d. 1594, Venezia)

The Apotheosis of St Roch

Oil on canvas, 240 x 360 cm
Scuola Grande di San Rocco, Venice

This oval painting is part of the ceiling decoration in the Sala dell'Albergo. After his arduous life of wanderings, narrated by the paintings in the neighbouring church, Roch finally reaches heaven, its angelic choirs, and the supreme vision "face to face."

The spirit of Michelangelo, who had only recently died, seems to permeate this ceiling picture. While the figure of God the Father is reminiscent of the Creator in the frescos of the Sistine Chapel, his encounter with the rising St Roch suggests Titian's famous Assunta, the epoch-making altarpiece of 1516/18 in the nearby Frari church, showing the Assumption of the Virgin. The muscular figure of the saint, patron of the victims of the plague, and the attractive representatives of the nine choirs of angels, slightly reminiscent of Gothic cathedral sculpture, seem to stand on the edge of an opening in the roof itself. This extreme and un-Venetian illusionism ultimately derives from the Mantuan ceiling pictures of Andrea Mantegna.

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