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The Charity of St Lawrence


Bernardo Strozzi, known as Cappuccino (Genoa, 1581 – Venice, 1644)
The Charity of St Lawrence
oil on canvas,1615-18
The Queen’s Bed Chamber

With the forceful realism typical of the Genoese master, the painting depicts the act of charity to the poor performed by St Lawrence, a priest of Spanish origin ordained as a deacon by Sixtus II. According to the tradition handed down in the Golden Legend by Jacopo da Varagine, it was precisely this act that led to Lawrence’s martyrdom. The chromatic range of the painting is dominated by the brown earth pigments of the background and the deep shadows. The latter, broken by whites, are warmed by the flesh tones of some of the figures in contrast to the cold gleam of the garments, red for the deacon and ash blue for the woman on the right. Critics have assigned the work a date between 1615 and 1618 on the basis of the marked influence of Caravaggio. It entered the Durazzo collection no later than the end of the 18th century.

  • Bernardo Strozzi, detto il Cappuccino
  • 1615-1618
  • olio su tela
  • Camera da Letto della Regina