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Core Record

Title The Death of St Francis
Alternative Title St Francis in Ecstasy; The Ecstasy of St Francis; St Francis in a Swoon, Supported by Angels
Collection Sheffield Galleries & Museums Trust
Artist Attributed to after Carracci, Annibale (Italian painter, 1560-1609)
Previously attributed to Carracci, Lodovico (Italian painter and draftsman, 1555-1619)
Date Earliest about 1590
Date Latest about 1600
Description This painting shows St Francis being caught by an angel after fainting. St Francis is painted as if dead, embracing a crucifix and positioned in front of a passage of the Bible, to which a group of angels draw attention. The subject of the death of St Francis, intended as a focus for mystical contemplation, became popular in the second half of the sixteenth century as a result of the post-Tridentine Church's appreciation of the Saint's ecstatic experiences. This painting, skillfully executed, may be one of three existing copies of a lost painting on copper painted by Annibale Carracci for the Palazzo del Giardino in Parma.
Current Accession Number 3137
Subject religion (St Francis)
Measurements 47.0 x 33 cm.0 cm (estimate)
Material oil on panel
Acquisition Details Given by Mrs D. A. Carter, 1956.
Provenance From the collection of P. J. Miles, Leigh Court; Leigh Court sale, Christie's, 28 June 1884, lot 10 as The Death of St Francis by A. Carracci after Correggio, bought by Philbrick; Miss Philbrick sale, [;], 8 April 1905, lot 151 as The Ecstasy of St Francis by A. Carracci; anon. sale, Sotheby's, 6 April 1955, lot 119 as The Ecstasy of St Francis by A. Carracci, bought by Tallant.
Principal Exhibitions Primitives to Picasso, Royal Academy of Arts, London, Winter Exhibition, 1962, cat. no. 87 as attributed to Annibale Carracci.
Publications Waagen, Treasures of Art in Great Britain: Being an Account of the Chief Collections of Paintings, Drawings, Sculptures, Illuminated Mss., etc., London, 1854, vol. III., p. 184, as St Francis in Ecstasy by Correggio; Primitives to Picasso, London, 1962, cat. no. 87 as attributed to Annibale Carracci; Byam Shaw J. Paintings by Old Masters at Christ Church Oxford, London, 1967, pp. 102-103, ill. fig. 37, p. 102 as St Francis in a Swoon by Annibale Carracci (;); Sickel L., 'Pordenone, Annibale Carracci and the last will of Claudio Scotti', The Burlington Magazine, CXLVII, November 2005, pp. 742-745, see n. 23, p. 744.
Notes Back, labels of the 1884 Christie's sale and the 1962 Royal Academy Exhibition. The attribution of this work has been, and still is, a cause of great debate amongst scholars. Waagen, in 1884, challenged the attribution to Correggio given when at Leigh Court in favour of Annibale Carracci. In 1956, it entered the Graves Art Gallery as a work by Annibale Carracci. In 1962 Denis Mahon suggested in a letter to the museum that it was by Ludovico Carracci, which was then adopted as the official attribution. There are three other known versions. One is at Christ Church in Oxford, attributed to Annibale Carracci, cat. no. 184. A second is in Dresden Gemaldegalerie, cat. no. 315 as Der Tod Des Hl. Franziskus, by Bartolomeo Schedoni. The attribution to Schedoni appears only from 1929, but until then had the same attribution it had when it entered the collection from the Ducal gallery at Modena in 1746 - 'School of Carracci'. A third version appeared in a Christie's sale, London, 15 December 1989, lot 21, as The Ecstasy of St Francis by Annibale Carracci. In his 2005 Burlington article, Sickel, who did not mention the Christie's painting, argues that the three other paintings are all copies of a lost work by Annibale Carracci, which appeared in the inventories of the collection of the Duke of Parma drawn up in 1680 and 1708 (see G. Bertini, La Galleria del Duca di Parma. Storia di una Collezione, Parma, 1987, p. 101, no.49, and p. 341, no. 151). According to these entries, the original painting measured 45.5 by 34.1 cm, a similar size to all the copies.
Rights Owner Sheffield Galleries & Museums Trust
Author Irene Galandra



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