Saint Margaret of Cortona

Artist: Gaspare Traversi (Italian, Neapolitan, ca. 1722–1770)

Date: ca. 1758

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 67 3/4 x 48 1/4 in. (172.1 x 122.6 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Gwynne Andrews Fund, 1968

Accession Number: 68.182


Margaret of Cortona, a thirteenth-century nun, was canonized in 1728. She is shown wearing the habit of a Franciscan Tertiary, holding a crucifix, and gazing into the face of an angel who has appeared to her holding a crown of thorns. In the background, Satan, who had attempted to persuade her to return to her former sinful life, flees into the fire of Hell. The dog is Margaret of Cortona's attribute, and the child is her illegitimate son. Typical of Traversi is his conception of the saint as an ordinary peasant and the description of the brick floor and wooden beams of her simple house.