Salviati (Francesco de' Rossi)
Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints
Oil on canvas
Church of Santa Cristina della Fondazza, Bologna, Italy
Mary wears her usual red robe and blue mantle. As very often in the 16th century the child is nearly naked with just a wisp of cloth over his genitals.
The Accademia's label identified the figures as (left to right) Christina of Bolsena, John the Baptist, Mary and Jesus, Philip, Nicholas, and (in the foreground) Romuald and Blessed Lucia of Settifonte. Christina holds something in her right hand that could be a dart, her attribute, or possibly a hand cross. John is recognizable by his camel-hair garment, Philip by the long cross, and Nicholas by the three golden balls.
In almost all his images, Romuald (921-1025) wears the white or off-white habit of the Camaldolese order and has a white beard and a fringe of white hair around an otherwise bald skull. In this case his left hand holds the top of a walking stick that is more clearly seen in some other portraits (example). Sitting before him is a model of a monastery on a mountaintop. This cannot specifically represent the mother house that he founded in Camaldoli, which was not on a mountain; rather, it refers generically to the large number of Camaldolese monasteries he founded during his lifetime (Butler, I, 267). His feast is on June 19, the date of his death, but from 1595 to 1969 it was observed on February 7. His vita, written by his contemporary Peter Damian, is in English translation in Head, 295-316, and in Latin in the Acta Sanctorum, February vol. 2, 104-140.
Blessed Lucia of Settifonti, the woman in the right foreground in the Camaldolese habit, was the first Camaldolese nun. She lived in Bologna in the 12th century.1 Her feast day is November 7, but the Acta Sanctorum volume for that date does not list her. Two internet sources say she was abbess of the Camaldolese convent of Santa Cristina near Bologna.2 The Italian Wikipedia (s.v. Fava (famiglia)) notes that the Bolognese crusader Cavalier Diatacora was cured (miracolato) by her intercession during the Fifth Crusade. The chain and manacles at her knees seem to be included as attributes and may have some relevance to Diatacora's "miracle."
This painting was on loan to the Accademia Gallery in Venice when I photographed it.
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Read more about images of the Madonna and Child.
Read more about images of Saint Christina of Bolsena and Saint John the Baptist.
Read more about images of Saint Philip and Saint Nicholas.
Photographed at the site by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.