Giambattista Piazzetta
Saints Louis Bertrand, Vincent Ferrer, and Hyacinth

Church of Santa Maria del Rosario ("The Gesuati")

Rugolo (137f.) explains that during a time of discouragement a voice had come to Louis saying, "you still live in darkness: the time will come when you will be given great splandour." (The episode is recounted in the Acta Sanctorum, October vol. 5, 332.) The spiraling form of the composition reflects this change from darkness into light and thence to Heaven. But to express the changes that came over the disheartened saint, Piazzetta uses the figures of two other saints. While Louis in darkness gazes downward at the snake in the chalice (a reference to an attempt to poison him), Vincent is bathed in light and looks upward at a source we cannot identify and Hyacinth is able to follow the angel's directing arms up toward Heaven itself.

Hyacinth's attributes are the monstrance and statue of the Virgin Mary in his arms, which he once rescued from a church that was under attack by the Tartars. Vincent is identified by his Dominican habit and the flame over his head, and Louis by the chalice and snake. The book lying in the foreground refers to Louis' breviary, which is preserved in Valencia's cathedral; his extended foot is a reminder of the pain he suffered for years in that member (Rugolo, 138).

The three saints are related in that they are all Dominicans noted for working miracles. In addition, Vincent Ferrer was born in 1350 into an extended family that would later produce Louis Bertrand, who in 1526 was baptized in the same font that had been used for Vincent (Acta Sanctorum, October vol. 5, 295).

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Photographed at the church by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.