Giulio Cesare Procaccini (Italian, Milanese, 15741625)
Oil on canvas; 101 1/8 x 56 3/8 in. (256.9 x 143.2 cm)
Purchase, Enid A. Haupt Gift, 1979 (1979.209)
The picture shows the Institution of the Rosary which, according to tradition, was established by Saint Dominic in the thirteenth century. The devotion was particularly popular after the victory of the Christian forces over the Turks at Lepanto in 1571, and the subject is not uncommon in the early seventeenth century. The apple held by Saint Francis is a symbol of the Fall of Man, and the vase of roses is an allusion to the Song of Solomon (2:1). The picture seems to have been commissioned shortly after 1612 by Gaspare Spanzotta for the Chapel of Saints Francis and Dominic in the Church of the Madonna dei Miracoli at Corbetta, near Milan. It is a masterpiece of Procaccini's early maturity. The tight composition and brilliant brushwork are characteristic of the Baroque style he evolved under the influence of the work of Lodovico Carracci and Parmigianino.