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Saint Margaret resuscitating a Young Man
Serodine, Giovanni
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Serodine, Giovanni

Rome (?), 1600 - Rome, 1630

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Saint Margaret resuscitating a Young Man

Ca. 1620. Oil on canvas.
Room 006

This painting is both beautiful in appearance and enigmatic on account of its problems of attribution, its authorship having fluctuated between several artists, all belonging to the aesthetic environment of Michelangelo Merisi, Caravaggio. Indeed, although it is now definitely ascribed to Serodine, some critics still believe it to be the work of the latter. Its history can be traced back to 1647, the year Don Alfonso Enríquez de Cabrera, Admiral of Castile, presented it to Philip IV as a gift, considering it to be a Caravaggio. It was hung in the Monastery of San Lorenzo del Escorial, where it was mentioned by all travelers from Father Santos onwards (1657:) "it is held to be of the hand of Michael Angelo Caravaggio, as it is very good, and in his manner". This attribution, albeit with a certain amount of hesitation, was maintained until the period of Ponz, who repeats the expression: "it is held to be the work of Michael Angelo Caravaggio". It entered the Museo del Prado in 1827. In the early catalogues it was listed under Rutilio Manetti (1570/71-1639), a Sienese Caravaggist, who is better known today, and to whom it cannot be attributed. In 1933, taking up Voss’s authoritative opinion, which Longhi accepted unreservedly, it was catalogued as the work of Giovanni Serodine, and has been ever since. However the attribution to Caravaggio was proposed by a few experts: in 1927 Venturi noted its resemblance to works of Caravaggio’s last period; Zahn underlines the similarities with aspects of the Burial of Saint Lucy painted in Syracuse in 1608 by Caravaggio; and Volpe and other critics also point to Caravaggio, an opinion shared by Pérez Sánchez, especially after the long, careful restoration process the painting underwent. The paint layer has suffered certain alterations owing to the effects of powerful heat which has modified the appearance of the surface. Thick repainting covered certain parts and restoration revealed subtle transitions of light and shadow and a synthetic lightness of execution in places, as well as making the mysterious poetry of the very soberly ordered composition more understandable. The heads of the main figures, the dead boy whom the robust elderly man holds by the armpits and the saint leaning tenderly towards him, clasping his hand in a delicate gesture, are in the shadow. It is undoubtedly related to Serodine´s The Alms of Saint Stephen (Museo-Pinacoteca, Casamari Abbey) with which it displays similarities both in the composition and in details. Considering that it also recalls aspects of surviving paintings of his in the parish church of Ascona, the execution date of this painting could be somewhere between 1620 and 1625. If it were painted by Caravaggio it would be a late work, from the Sicilian period. This can be seen from the pensive, saddened expressions of the heads, in strict profile, the light contouring the wrinkled foreheads -similar to those of several figures from The Adoration of the Shepherds (Museo di Messina-) and the luminous folds and deep shadowed furrows of the dead boy´s clothing, which greatly resemble those of the fabric enveloping the Christ Child in the aforementioned painting. There is a further detail that supports the traditional attribution of the painting to Caravaggio: the inventory of the possessions of the Duke of Alcalá -viceroy of Naples between 1629 and 1631- drawn up in Genoa in 1637 lists a picture called Miracle of a Saint (female) by Caravaggio, which could be this same painting that is now thought to be by Serodine but was then concealed by the attribution to a much more prestigious artist.

De Tiziano a Goya: grandes maestros del Museo del Prado, Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado: SEACEX, 2007, p.242

Technical data

Inventory number
Serodine, Giovanni
Saint Margaret resuscitating a Young Man
Ca. 1620
Height: 131 cm; Width: 100.5 cm
Royal Collection

Bibliography +

Voss, Hermann, Die Malerei des Barock in Rom, Propylaen Verlag, Berlín, 1924, pp. 466.

Pérez Sánchez, Alfonso E., Pintura italiana del S. XVII en España, Universidad Fundación Valdecilla, Madrid, 1965, pp. 336-337.

Pérez Sánchez, Alfonso E., Pintura italiana del siglo XVII: exposición conmemorativa del ciento cincuenta aniversario de la fundación del Museo del Prado, Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia, Madrid, 1970, pp. 526.

Andrés, Gregorio de, Relación anónima del s. XVII sobre los cuadros del Escorial, Archivo Español de Arte, 44, 1971, pp. 59.

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

Caravaggio y el naturalismo español, Comisaría General de Exposiciones de la Dirección, Madrid, 1973.

El niño en el Museo del Prado, Ministerio de Cultura, Dirección General de Bellas Artes, Madrid, 1983, pp. 175.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1985, pp. 630.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Pintura napolitana: de Caravaggio a Giordano, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1985, pp. 104/ lám.23.

Chiappini, R., Serodine. La Pittura Oltre Caravaggio, Electa, Milan, 1987.

Testori, G., Serodine: L'opera completa, Electa, Milan, 1987, pp. 103.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado. Inventario general de pinturas (I) La Colección Real, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1990.

Bettagno, Alessandro, El Museo del Prado, Fonds MercatorFundación Amigos del Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1996, pp. 266.

Colomer, José Luis, Arte y diplomacia de la monarquía hispánica en el siglo XVII, Fernando Villaverde Edicciones, Madrid, 2003, pp. 321.

Gregori,M, 'Giovanni Serodine. Milagro de santa Margarita' En:, Caravaggio y la pintura realista europea, Museu Nacional D'Art de Catalunya, Barcelona, 2005, pp. 278-281 n.67.

De Tiziano a Goya. Obras maestras del Museo del Prado., Tokio - Osaka, 2006.

De Tiziano a Goya: grandes maestros del Museo del Prado, Museo Nacional del Prado: SEACEX, Madrid, 2007, pp. 242.

Salas, Xavier de, Caravaggio y los caravaggistas en la pintura española, Estudios, 2010, pp. 379.

Mann, Judith W., 'Giovanne Serodine Sainte Marguerite ressuscite un jeune homme' En, Corps et ombres. Caravage et le caravagisme européen, 5 continents. Musée Fabre, 2012, pp. 136-137 n.23.

Terzaghi, Maria Cristina, 'Alle origini del naturalismo spagnolo. La Santa Caterina del Prado nel contesto delle prime copie da Caravaggio in Spagna (1610-20 ca.)' En:, Actas del Congreso internacional Las copias de obras maestras de la pintura en las colecciones de los Austrias y el Museo del Prado. Junio 2017, Madrid, 2021, pp. 89-105 [98].

Other inventories +

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1872-1907. Núm. 293.
293.-Milagro de santa Margarita. / Alto 1,41. Ancho 1,04.-Lienzo. / Un hombre de barba cana y otras dos personas sostienen á un muchacho, que aparece medio envuelto en una mortaja, con el sello de la muerte en el semblante. La Santa le resucita y le tiene asida la mano.-Figuras hasta las rodillas, de tamaño menor que el natural. / Este cuadro, que pasaba por de Caravaggio, fué regalado á Felipe IV por el Almirante de Castilla don Juan Alonso Enriquez de Cabrera, grande aficionado á la pintura.

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 811.
Manetti (Rutilio) / 811. Milagro de Santa Margarita. / Se ve a un muchacho medio envuelto en una mortaja y con la cabeza inclinada, sostenido por un hombre con barbas canas, y otras dos personas. Santa Margarita le resucita por virtud de Dios, y le tiene asida la mano. (figuras hasta las rodillas.) / Alto 5 pies, 6 lin; ancho 3 pies, 8 pulg, 6 lin.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1854-1858. Núm. 811.

Exhibitions +

06.06.2020 - 25.07.2021

Corps et ombres, Caravage et le Caravagisme Européen. Montpellier
20.06.2012 - 14.10.2012

From Titian to Goya. Great Masters from the Museo del Prado
13.09.2007 - 12.11.2007

From Titian to Goya. Great Masters from the Museo del Prado
29.06.2007 - 24.08.2007

De Tiziano a Goya. Obras maestras del Museo del Prado
14.07.2006 - 15.10.2006

De Tiziano a Goya. Obras maestras del Museo del Prado
24.03.2006 - 02.07.2006

Caravaggio y la pintura realista europea
06.10.2005 - 15.01.2006

Giovanni Serodine
21.05.1987 - 19.07.1987

Giovanni Serodine
07.03.1987 - 17.05.1987

Location +

Room 006 (On Display)

Update date: 09-04-2022 | Registry created on 02-12-2015

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