Francesco Montelatici called Cecco Bravo
(Firenze 1601 – Innsbruck 1661)
Saint John The Evangelist
Oil on canvas, cm. 60 x 46
The subject depicted is Saint John The Evangelist carrying a chalice from which it comes from a snake. He’s portrayed while turning his head to the spectator into a dark background. This representation is taken from the “Legenda Aurea” of Jacopo Da Varagine. The story tells that Saint John, during his stay in Ephesus, refused to pray the pagan Goddess Artemis and as a punishment he was forced to drink a chalice of poisoned wine. Just before drinking he crossed himself and miraculously the poison turned into a snake and ran away from the chalice.
Cecco Bravo was a very original and peculiar artist active in Florence in the first part of the XVII century. He was the pupils of Giovanni Bilivert and Matteo Rosselli, but he developed an unique and eccentric style influenced even by North-Italian art, where he spent lots of time. He moved to Innsbruck, where he died, to work at the Court.
The painting can be ascribed to the early part of the life of the artist thanks to comparisons with other paintings of the same time (for example the “Seramide” in Prato or the “Virgin with Child” from private collection). His style can be recognized mostly in the marked but regular physiognomy of the saint, in the compact modelling and in the bright colors that remind of enamels.
Expertise from Professor Sandro Bellesi and Professor Giuseppe Cantelli.