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The Guardian Angel, Saint Ursula and Saint Thomas
Cecco del Caravaggio (Francesco Buoneri)
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Cecco del Caravaggio (Francesco Buoneri)

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The Guardian Angel, Saint Ursula and Saint Thomas

Ca. 1615. Oil on canvas Not on display

This painting was first attributed to Cecco del Caravaggio by Joan Ainaud de Lasarte in 1947. At that time, very little was known about this painter, who was later identified as Francesco Buoneri, an artist working in Rome during the second decade of the seventeenth century who had previously been the most outstanding follower of Caravaggio. His relationship with the latter may also have been more than purely professional. Buoneri´s oeuvre influenced certain Spanish painters who were active in Italy during the early decades of the seventeenth century, including Juan Bautista Maíno (1581–1649) and Pedro Núñez del Valle (c.1597–1649), to whom some of Buoneri´s works have occasionally been attributed. Ainaud de Lasarte has indicated that this work may have been part of a larger composition that was cut down at some point, or that it may have been conceived in relation to another contiguous painting, as there must be a reason why all of the figures are looking to the viewer´s left and why their gestures point in the same direction. Given the dimensions of the Museo del Prado´s work, if the first hypothesis were true then the original painting would have been unusually large; it seems more likely that the work was one of the lateral paintings from a triptych. At the top, a guardian angel points with his right hand towards what must have been the centre of the once-adjacent composition. According to tradition, the guardian angel accompanies and protects a specific person whose soul is depicted in this work as a nude youth embracing the angel. Devotion to guardian angels is rooted in the Middle Ages, but was encouraged during the Counter-Reformation to combat Protestant invectives, and was finally made official by Pope Clement X (r. 1670–76). Kneeling below the angel, Saint Ursula is identified by her iconographic attributes: the arrow through her throat, and her standard. The story of her martyrdom alongside the eleven thousand virgins by the Huns near Cologne first appears in Geoffrey of Monmouth´s Historia regum Britanniae (History of the Kings of Britain), c.1130–36, but was later popularised by Jacobus de Voragine´s Golden Legend (c.1250). The man at Ursula´s side has customarily been considered to be Saint Thomas, although the fact that his only iconographic attributes are a halo and a book suggests he could just as well be any other of the Twelve Apostles, or even one of the Evangelists (Riello, J.: Italian Masterpieces. From Spain´s Royal Court, Museo del Prado, 2014, p. 126).

Technical data

Inventory number
P007678
Author
Cecco del Caravaggio (Francesco Buoneri)
Title
The Guardian Angel, Saint Ursula and Saint Thomas
Date
Ca. 1615
Technique
Oil
Support
Canvas
Dimension
Height: 208 cm.; Width: 106 cm.
Provenance
Museum, Kansas City, 1930-1988; Christie's de Nueva York, 2/6/1988; Stanley Moss, Nueva York; Acquisition for the Prado Museum with funds from the Villaescusa Legacy, 1993.

Bibliography +

Papi,G., Cecco del Caravaggio, 1, 1992, pp. 9,13,18-19,22,35 y 53; nº 15.

Museo del Prado, Últimas adquisiciones: 1982-1995, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1995, pp. 64.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: catálogo de las pinturas, Ministerio de Educación y Cultura, Madrid, 1996, pp. 71.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: inventario general de pinturas, III, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1996.

Gruber, Gerlinde, Considerazioni su una monografia recente e una nuova proposta per Cecco del Caravaggio. Separata, PARAGONE ARTE: RIVISTA MENSILE DI ARTE FIGURATIVA E LETTERATURA FONDATA DA ROBERTO LONGHI, 54, 2003.

Riello, J., Cecco del Caravaggio 'Guardian angel with Saints Ursula and Thomas' En:, Italian masterpieces from Spain's royal court, Museo del Prado, National Gallery of Victoria Thames & Hudson, 2014, pp. 126.

Other inventories +

Inv. Nuevas Adquisiciones (iniciado en 1856). Núm. 2358.
Autor: Francesco Buoneri, 'Cecco del Caravaggio' / 2358. Titulo: Angel custodio con Sta. Úrsula y Sto. Tomás. / Tipo de obra: Pintura / Técnica/soporte: óleo sobre lienzo / medidas: 2,08 x 1,06 m. / Nº de Ccatalogo: p-07678 / Observaciones: / Adquirido por el museo a través de Fervisa a Kyoto London Ltd, en 185.000 $. / Ingreso en el Museo el 15-IV-1993''

Exhibitions +

Italian Masterpieces from Spain's Royal Court. Museo Nacional del Prado
Melbourne
16.05.2014 - 31.08.2014

Update date: 09-10-2019 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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