Saint Rosalie Interceding for the Plague-stricken of Palermo

Artist: Anthony van Dyck (Flemish, Antwerp 1599–1641 London)

Date: 1624

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 39 1/4 x 29 in. (99.7 x 73.7 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Purchase, 1871

Accession Number: 71.41


Van Dyck was in Palermo, Sicily, when a plague broke out and the city was quarantined. On July 15, 1624, the remains of Saint Rosalie—the city’s patroness, who died about 1160—were opportunely discovered on Mount Pellegrino, which is visible here above the harbor of Palermo. Images of Saint Rosalie were in great demand; this one was painted by Van Dyck on top of a striking self-portrait that he had sketched on the canvas. The artist employed a design he had used earlier for paintings of the Assumption of the Virgin.