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Saint Dominic of Guzmán
Coello, Claudio
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Coello, Claudio

Madrid (Spain), 1642 - Madrid (Spain), 1693

Coello, Claudio See author's file

Saint Dominic of Guzmán

Ca. 1685. Oil on canvas. Not on display

Spanish saint Dominic de Guzmán (1170-1221) founded the Dominican Order, which became one of the most powerful and influential religious groups in Catholic Europe, partially as a result of its defense of orthodoxy through the Inquisition, which was led by Dominican prelates. Claudio Coello made five paintings for their convent of El Rosario in Madrid, one of which is presented here. They were probably painted in the mid 1670s, when the painter was relatively young but had already made a place for himself on the art scene in Madrid. His reputation stemmed from his participation in important decorative projects at churches and convents in and around that city, and such singular works as, for example, The Triumph of Saint Augustine (1664) (Museo del Prado, P664). All of these works reveale his technical skill and his unusual mastery of drawing, as well as the originality and compositional daring that made him one of the great representatives of the mature Baroque in Madrid.

All of these qualities are present in St. Dominic de Guzmán, a very effective painting in the esthetic sense and also very original- it bears no resemblance to customary depictions of Saint Dominic. The saint is accompanied by numerous allusions to his identity -almost too many, in fact- including the Dominican cross, the habit of his order, the rosary at his waist, a lily, the book in his right hand, an orb and a dog with a candle at his feet. But while none of this is new, the figure’s presentation is truly innovative, and it is resolved in an extraordinarily theatrical manner.

The saint appears on a pedestal, which suggests the idea of sculpture. But that suggestion is ambiguous, as both the saint’s facial expression and posture, and the aliveness that Claudio Coello manages to transmit through his use of color, contradict the idea of a dead and unchanging statue. This ambiguity also involves the space around the saint: an open red curtain casts the scene as an apparition and unveiling. The curtain opens onto a setting that is very powerful from a formal standpoint, but equally ambiguous in its degree of verisimilitude. Four large columns bear composite capitals, but rather than delimiting the space, they open to the sky. This makes allows Coello to create a dramatic lighting whose contrasts bring an extraordinary sense of power to the figure of the saint in the foreground. And this is further reinforced by the notably low viewpoint, which adds a sense of monumentality. With its combination of painting, sculpture, architecture and staging, this work marks a high point in the Baroque aspiration to combine the arts, not as entertaining artifice, but rather as a means of more efficiently conveying the presence of the saint’s image to the viewer.

This painting entered the Museo del Prado from the former Museo de la Trinidad, which had received works from many Castilian convents after they were secularized in 1835.

El Prado en el Hermitage, Museo Estatal del Hermitage: Museo del Prado, 2011, p.154-155

Technical data

Related artworks

Santa Rosa de Lima
Oil on canvas, 1683
Inventory number
Coello, Claudio
Saint Dominic of Guzmán
Ca. 1685
Height: 240 cm; Width: 160 cm
Madrid, Dominican convent of Nuestra Señora del Rosario, church; Museo de la Trinidad.

Bibliography +

Ponz, Antonio, Viage de España: en que se da noticia de las cosas mas apreciables, y dignas de saberse, que hay en ella, V, Atlas, Madrid, 1794; ed. facs. 1972, pp. 195-196.

Cruzada Villaamil, Gregorio, Catálogo provisional, historial y razonado del Museo Nacional de Pinturas, Madrid, 1865, pp. 47.

Palomino de Castro y Velasco, Acisclo Antonio, El Museo Pictorico y Escala Optica. Vol. I y II, Aguilar, Madrid, 1947, pp. 205-206.

Gaya Nuño, Juan Antonio, Claudio Coello, Instituto Diego Velázquez, del Consejo Superior de, Madrid, 1957, pp. 19 / lám. 21.

Salas, Xavier de, Museo del Prado. Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1972.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado. Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1985, pp. 153.

Sullivan, Edward J., Baroque painting in Madrid: the contribution of Claudio Coello, University of Missouri Press, Columbia, 1986, pp. 157.

Sullivan, Edward J., Claudio Coello y la pintura barroca madrileña, Nerea, Madrid, 1989, pp. 206.

Spinosa, Nicola, Napols i el Barroc Mediterrani, Ayuntamiento de Barcelona, Barcelona, 1990, pp. 149.

Spinosa, Nicola, Napols i el Barroc Mediterrani. La Pintura Mediterrania de 1, Generalitat Valenciana, Valencia, 1990.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: inventario general de pinturas (II). Museo de la Trinidad, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1991.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Pintura barroca española: guía, Museo Nacional del PradoAldeasa, Madrid, 2001, pp. 248.

Gutiérrez Pastor, Ismael, Novedades sobre Claudio Coello, con algunas cuestiones iconográficas y compositivas, Universidad Autónoma, Madrid, 2003, pp. 137-138.

Santo Domingo de Guzmán: el burgalés más universal, Consejería de Cultura y Turismo, Valladolid, 2008, pp. 67-69.

Moradas de grandeza: la ciudad conventual española, Fundación Cajamurcia, 2010, pp. 18-37 / 104.

El Prado en el Hermitage, Museo Estatal del Hermitage: Museo del Prado, 2011, pp. 154-155.

Aterido Fernández, Ángel, Claudio Coello o el principio contado como final. En: Maestros en la sombra, Fundación Amigos Museo del Prado, Madrid, 2013, pp. 315-334 [326].

Hoffman-Samland, Jens, 'Atribuído a Claudio Coello. Aparición de María y el Niño Jesús a S. Francisco' En:, Dibujos españoles en la Kunsthalle de Hamburgo, Museo Nacional del Prado Meadows Museum, Southern Methodist Univ. Hamburger Kunsthalle, Madrid, 2014, pp. 195.

Zapata Fernández de la Hoz, T. Gómez Aragüete, J.C, Dos nuevos dibujos de Claudio Coello en la Biblioteca Nacional de España, Archivo español de arte, LXXXVIII Julio-Septiembre, 2015, pp. 310-314 [313].

García Cueto, David, Claudio Coello: pintor, 1642-1693, Arco Libros - La Muralla, Madrid, 2016, pp. 148-149 f.81.

Other inventories +

Inv. Museo de la Trinidad, Pintura. Núm. 417.
Sto Domingo de Guzman con una cruz en la mano dra., un libro y una azucena en la izqda debajo el perro con el hacha en la boca figª de tamº nat.l y cuerpo entero / Autor / Rectifdo alto 2,42 ancho 1,61. / Forrado restaurado y sin marco y colgdo en la academia / Nº 20 / S.G.

Catálogo Museo de la Trinidad, 1865. Núm. 417.
ESCUELA MADRILEÑA. [...] CLAUDIO COELLO. [...] 417. Santo Domingo de Guzman. / Lienzo. - Al. 2,42. - An. 1,615. - Fig. t. n. / ¿Claudio Coello? / Cobijado bajo un arco y sobre una peana dorada, se ve al Santo de pié con un libro y una azucena en la mano izquierda y en la derecha la cruz de la órden. A los piés del Santo, el perro con la antorcha y el globo coronado por una cruz. Compañero del núm. 420.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1872-1907. Núm. 2150b.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1910. Núm. 662.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1942-1996. Núm. 662.

Exhibitions +

El Prado en el Hermitage
San Petersburgo
25.02.2011 - 29.05.2011

Moradas de grandeza. La ciudad conventual española [Divina Prisión. Huellas]
17.11.2010 - 30.01.2011

Santo Domingo de Guzmán
31.10.2008 - 11.01.2009

Nápoles y el Barroco Mediterráneo
18.04.1990 - 03.06.1990

Nápoles y el Barroco Mediterráneo
14.02.1990 - 30.03.1990

Update date: 04-11-2021 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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