APOTHEOSIS OF A SAINT, POSSIBLY CHARLES BORROMEO, WELCOMED BY THE MADONNA, SEATED IN GLORY WITH THE TRINITY, THE HEAVENLY HOST & SAINTS
Bears collector's stamp l.r. (L.1733a), and possible [unknown] collector's mark l.m. [not in Lugt]
Pen & brown and sepia ink with grey washes on laid paper
17 x 27 cm
Lionel Lucas (1822-1862) (L.1733a);
By descent to his nephew Claude Lucas;
[Probably] His sale, Christie's, London, 09.12.1949;
Private Collection, Italy
The present work can be compared to Gaulli's Prophets, Patriarchs, Saints, and Music-Making Angels in Glory in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (Acc. No. 61.178.1), although the present work is not a study for Gaulli's St Agnes Received into Heaven as that work is. It is likely a study for a hitherto unidentified or perhaps unrecognised ceiling design (as St Agnes was, a work which ultimately never came to fruition despite numerous studies in both oil and pen & ink).
The central saint, who gestures towards the Madonna, can tentatively be identified as Charles Borromeo, Archbishop of Milan, Cardinal, and one of the foremost figures of the Counter-Reformation. The identification is based in part on the presence of Philip Neri to the right immediately beneath him, whose hand pressed to his heart (shown with rays emitting from it) is an artistic reference to the saint's 'miraculous' swollen heart, the result of his fervent prayer in the catacombs of Rome.