DOMENICO MARIA VIANI
(Bologna, 1668 – 1711)
Saint Luigi Gonzaga with Lilies and Crucifix
Oil on copper
Oval, 5 7/8 x 4 inches
(15 x 10.16 cm)
Framed: 7 ¾ x 4 ¾ inches
This exquisite miniature on copper depicts St. Aloysius Gonzaga (1568-1591), known throughout Italy as San Luigi Gonzaga. Luigi, from the noble Gonzaga family, gave up his inheritance to take on the priesthood, becoming one of the most significant and devout members of the Jesuit order. After his death of plague at the age of twenty-two he was greatly venerated; he was beatified within fourteen years of his death and was canonized in 1726.
The art of Domenico Maria Viani has been described as combining the academic Bolognese tradition of the Carracci and Guercino with the expressive color of the Venetians. Here Viani has depicted the saint in his traditional black cassock, holding a cross, referring to his piety, and lilies, symbolic of his innocence. The miniature is presented in a contemporary Baroque frame.
This work comes from the distinguished Suida-Manning Collection, begun by the Austrian art historian Wilhelm Suida and continued by his daughter Bertina Suida Manning and her husband Robert Manning, both scholars in the field. The identifying inscription on the verso is Robert Manning’s.