Italian, c. 1600–c. 1636
St. Cecilia, c. 1630
oil on canvas
101.6 x 136.8 cm
Permanent loan to the Winnipeg Art Gallery from the City of Winnipeg, James Cleghorn Collection
This work was first attributed to the seventeenth-century Italian painter Domenichino, and then reattributed to Antiveduto della Grammatica. However, more recently it has been confirmed to be a work by the little known Roman painter Giuseppe Puglia (the son-in-law of Antiveduto), who flourished in the early seventeenth century. St. Cecilia, the patron saint of music, is shown here in a three-quarter-length pose, her elegantly draped figure taking up much of the picture space in the Caravaggesque manner. At this particular moment, she has stopped playing her violin and is turned towards a putto, who is positioned, sheet music in hand, on a pedestal beside her, as if the two had just commenced a discussion about the work being played. While the use of strong light and shadow suggests the influence of Caravaggio, the copious amounts of drapery carefully arranged to give form to Cecilia’s frame, are similar to the style of Guido Reni, whose work Puglia would surely have known in Rome.