Orazio Borgianni

St Carlo Borromeo

St Carlo Borromeo
(click image to zoom-in)
Author: Orazio Borgianni
Painting, Oil on canvas, 152.5x123 cm
Origin: Italy, Between 1610 and 1616

Saint Carlo Borromeo , bishop and cardinal, was one of the most active figures in the Counter-Reformation. His character combined both the Catholic Church's cruelty to its opponents and great charity. He organised hospitals during the plague epidemic and without fear of infection himself gave last communion to the dying. His authority was so great that images of him as a saint appeared even before his canonisation in 1610. Orazio Borgianni, a painter and engraver, produced this picture soon after the canonisation. Borgianni was much influenced by Caravaggio, as can be seen here in the dark ground and the emphatic modelling in light and shade. Combined with this approach is a free painting style which allowed the artist to convey the religious ecstasy of the praying cardinal. The open Bible and the crucifix upon it fit easily into the composition, at the same time forming a superb still life.

Personage: St Charles Borromeo
Source of entry: The Golitsyn Museum, Moscow, 1886
School: Roman
Theme: The Bible and Christianity

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