Andrea Sacchi 1599 - 1661
Inside the Church of S Maria in Vallicella durung the celebrations of 13th March 1622
Oil on canvas
98 x 74 cm
Pinacoteca, Musei Vaticani, Citta del Vaticano
Sacchi was one of the leading classical painters in Rome in the second quarter of the seventeenth century.
He was the exponent of 'High Baroque Classicism'.
Contrary to the views of his great rival Pietro da Cortona on the question of whether history paintings should have few figures or many this work upholds Sacchi`s view that few is better
On 12th March 1622, Pope Gregory XV canonised the five great saints of the Catholic Reform: Saints Philip Neri, Ignatius Loyola, Teresa of Avila, Francis Xavier, and Isidore of Seville
The next day there was a procession from St Peters to each of the churches of the five new saints
This painting celebrates the arrival of the procession at the Chiesa Nova where the great banner depicting the saint was deposited
The great standard shows St Philip Neri in the act of praying to Madonna and Child
It was made of red silk and commissioned by the regents of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany: Maria Maddalena of Austria and Christina of Lorraine. It is still in existence. The saint was of course born in Florence
Exuberant theatricality is the keynote of this work
Do we see Sacchi himself on the bottom right gazing out at us over the centuries ?