Sunday, May 31, 2020

06 Works, Today, May 31st is Saint Aurelia Petronilla's day, her story in Paintings #151

Saint Petronilla (Petronille)
Oil on canvas
Musée Contes

Saint Aurelia Petronilla is an early Christian saint. She was venerated as a virgin martyr by the Catholic Church. She died in Rome at the end of 1st century, or possibly in the 3rd century.

Petronilla, her name is the feminine and diminutive of Peter, and is traditionally identified as the daughter of Saint Peter, though this may stem simply from the similarity of names. It is believed she may have been a convert of the saint (and thus a "spiritual daughter"), or a follower or servant. It is said that Saint Peter cured her of palsy.

Bartolo di Fredi, c. 1330 – c. 1409.
The Healing of St. Petronilla by Peter the Apostle, c. 1380
On wood
28.9 cm × 26.6 cm
Siena, Pinacoteca Nazionale

Saint Petronilla depicted being healed by Saint Peter the Apostle.

Bartolo di Fredi (c. 1330 – January 26, 1410) was an Italian painter, born in Siena, classified as a member of the Sienese School. Bartolo di Fredi was one of the most popular masters in Siena in the second half of the fourteenth century.

He registered in the Guild of that city in 1355. He helped decorate the Hall of Council at Siena, in 1361. In 1362 he went to San Gimignano, where, by 1356, he had painted the entire side of the left aisle of the Pieve with scenes drawn from the Old Testament. In 1366 the Council of the city of Gimignano ordered a painting, representing Two Monks of the Augustine Order to be placed in the Palazzo Pubblico In the early part of 1367 he returned to Siena, and was employed with Giacomo di Mino in the decorations of the cathedral. In 1372. In 1381 he was made a member of the Council. In 1389, Bartolo, assisted by Luca Thome to paint the altar-piece for the Shoemakers' Company, in the Cathedral, and continued from that year until his death to furnish altar-pieces for the cathedral and other churches of Siena, which have now all disappeared.

His style is marked by the rejection of the concrete figures. Instead he favor flatter decorative otherworldly compositions. He combined a spirit of fantasy with anecdotal details. More on Bartolo di Fredi

Roman inscriptions, however, identify her simply as a martyr. She may have been related to Saint Domitilla.

Giovanni Francesco Guercino
Petronilla being healed by Saint Peter the Apostle
Private collection

Giovanni Francesco Guercino; see below

Stories associated with her include those that relate that she was so beautiful that Saint Peter had locked her up in a tower to keep her from eligible men; that a pagan king named Flaccus, wishing to marry her, led Petronilla to go on a hunger strike, from which she died. More on Saint Aurelia Petronilla

Simone Pignoni
Death of St Petronilla, second half of the 17th century
Oil on canvas
141x114 cm
Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia

Refusing to marry the patrician Flaccus, after three days of fasting and prayer St Petronilla died. 

Pignoni shows the moment when Petronilla, just before her death, is given last communion by the priest Nicomedes, a pupil of St Peter. The girl's pale face with its shadows around the eyes seems to be almost translucent, while the blue ray which pierces the clouds floods her figure with a cold light. More on this painting

Simone Pignoni (April 17, 1611 – December 16, 1698) was an Italian painter of the Baroque period. He is best known for painting in a style reminiscent of the morbidly sensual Furini. Reflective of this obsession is his self-portrait, c. 1650, in which he depicts himself building up a plump naked female from a skeleton. The biographer Baldinucci, in what little he notes of the painter, recalls him as the scandalous "imitator of (Furini's) licentious inventions".

Among his more conventional works are a St. Agatha cured by St. Peter (attributed) in the Museo Civico di Trieste; a St. Louis providing a banquet for the poor (c. 1682) now in the church of Santa Felicita in Florence, commissioned by Conte Luigi Gucciardini; and a Madonna and child in glory with archangels Saints Michael and Raphael in battle armor and San Antonio of Padua (1671) for the Cappella di San Michele in Santissima Annunziata. He painted an Allegory of Peace in Palazzo Vecchio. A Penitent Magdalen that has been attributed to Pignoni is found in the Pitti Palace. In San Bartolomeo in Monteoliveto, he painted a Madonna appearing to Blessed Bernardo Tolomeo. More Simone Pignoni

Guercino, (1591–1666)
The Burial of Saint Petronilla, c. 1623
Oil on canvas
Height: 7,200 mm (23.62 ft); Width: 4,230 mm (13.87 ft)
Capitoline Museums, Rome, Italy

The painting simultaneously depicts the burial and the welcoming to heaven of the martyred Saint Petronilla. The altarpiece was painted for St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, for a chapel dedicated to the saint and containing her relics. More on this painting

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (February 8, 1591 – December 22, 1666), best known as Guercino, was an Italian Baroque painter and draftsman from the region of Emilia, and active in Rome and Bologna. The vigorous naturalism of his early manner is in contrast to the classical equilibrium of his later works. His many drawings are noted for their luminosity and lively style.

Mainly self-taught, at the age of 16, he worked as apprentice in the shop of Benedetto Gennari, a painter of the Bolognese School. By 1615, he moved to Bologna, where his work was praised by Ludovico Carracci. Guercino painted two large canvases, Elijah Fed by Ravens and Samson Seized by Philistines, for Cardinal Serra, a Papal Legate to Ferrara. These paintings have a stark naturalist Caravaggesque style, although it is unlikely that Guercino saw any of the Roman Caravaggios first-hand.

Guercino's early works are often tumultuous. He often claimed that his early style was influenced by a canvas of Ludovico Carracci that he saw in the Capuchin church in Cento. Some of his later works are closer to the style of his contemporary Guido Reni, and are painted with more lightness and clearness. More on Guercino

Fresco of the mid-4th century, with the martyr Petronilla on the right, leading a young woman named Veneranda into the garden of Paradise.

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