Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Preaching of St Antony of Padua

Arnould de Vuez 1644 -1720
St Antony of Padua Preaching c. 1715
Oil on canvas 300 H ; 415 L
Musée des beaux-arts, Lille

One of the great orators of the thirteenth century was St Antony of Padua (1195-1231).

He attracted massive crowds to listen to him. Often he had to preach in the open air.

The website of Paul Spilsbury contains some of his sermons and a commentary

Arnould was the son of a soldier. His family originally came from Verona in Italy.

Arnould left his birthplace for Paris to perfect his painting technique in the studio of Luc, a Récollet monk. He then moved to live with his uncle, a canon at Venice then Rome, where he won first prize for drawing at the Accademia di San Luca. In Rome he was strongly influenced by the paintings and works of Raphael.

Back in Paris he studied and became a friend of Lebrun who presented him to the King.

Arnould established himself in Lille for 50 years, and the town was to offer him many opportunities especially in the field of religious art commissions.

At the French Revolution, this and other paintings like it were seized by the State.

His works were in the vanguard of the Counter-Reformation.

If we are to believe Anthony Blunt, the Council of Trent dropped a lead curtain over art. However the works of de Vuez and many others like him are sufficient to disprove this thesis.