- Museum number
St Hyacinth reviving a drowned boy, the Dominican saint looking skywards surrounded by a crowd of figures by the banks of a river or lake
Grey and white oil paint, over black chalk, squared in black chalk for transfer, on light brown paper
- Production date
- 1596 (circa)
Height: 275 millimetres
Width: 191 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- The attribution is due to Ralph Holland. This was confirmed by Philip Pouncey's observation that it is a study for Trotti's altarpiece dated 1596 formerly in S. Domenico, Cremona and now in the Museo Civico there (no. 149; Marubbi 2003, no. 142, illustrated in colour p. 186). The finished painting differs only slightly from this finished design in minor details: such as the boy's kneeling mother on the left looks upwards to the left towards her spouse; a Dominican priest is introduced behind the saint to the right; and some of the background figures are brought nearer to Hyacinth. The incredulous male figure on the right with his arms open is a self-portrait of the artist. The prominent position of the woman in the left corner may be due to the altarpiece having been commissioned by two female donors as is recorded in Latin on the painting: Costanza Visconti, wife of Gabriele Cambiaga (Constantia Cambiaga) and Ippolita, wife of Guglielmo Lupa (Hippolita Lupa).
Pope Clement VIII's (Ippolito Aldobrandini) decision to elevate Hyacinth, a Polish thirteenth-century Dominican, to sainthood in 1594 may well be linked to his visit to Poland as a cardinal when he successfully led a diplomatic mission in 1588-9 for Pope Sixtus V to negotiate a peace treaty between the Polish king Sigismund III Vasa and Emperor Rudolf II. Hyacinth's life and miracles were promulgated through two biographies written in Italian published the same year in Verona and Venice respectively by Innocenzo Cybo Ghisi and Marcantonio Baldi, and by a number of altarpieces and decorations, like Trotti's, painted for Dominican churches. These include Ludovico Carracci's 'Vision of St Hyacinth' of 1594 painted for S. Domenico in Bologna (now Louvre) as well as a study in the British Museum (Pp,3.2) for a lost painting of the saint miraculously escaping from Kiev with a statue of the Virgin and a monstrance; Alessandro Allori's 'Vision of St Hyacinth' in Santa Amria Novella, Florence; Jan Soens' altarpiece for S. Pietro Martire, Parma (British Museum study for it, 1946,0713.617); Vanni's painting of the same episode as that in Trotti's work in S. Spirito, Siena, completed by 1596; and the Cappella di S. Giacinto (the chapel of St Hyacinth) in S. Sabina in Rome decorated in 1599 with an altarpiece of the 'Vision of St Hyacinth' by Lavinia Fontana and with frescoes and mosaics painted and designed by Federico Zuccaro, including a representation of his resurrection of the drowned boy in one of the window embrasures (C. Acidini Luchinat, 'Taddeo e Federico Zuccari fratelli pittori del cinquecento', Rome, 1999, II, fig. 28, p. 242). Closer to Cremona Paolo Farinati also painted the same episode in Sant'Anastasia in Verona in 1595.
Lit.: R. Holland, in exhib. cat., Newcastle, Hatton Gallery, 'Italian and other drawings 1500-1800', 1974, no. 37; M. di Giampaolo, ' Per il Malosso disegnatore', "Arte Illustrata", 57, March 1974, p. 20, fig. 31; M. Marubbi, 'La Pinacoteca Ala Ponzone il cinquecento', Milan, 2003, under no. 142, p. 185
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1969, Edinburgh, Merchants' Hall, 'Italian 16thc drawings from British private collections', no. 84
1974, Newcastle, Hatton Gallery, 'Italian and other drawings 1500-1800', 1974, no. 37
1975, Courtauld Institute, 'Italian and other drawings 1500-1800', no. 26
1982, Newcastle, Hatton Gallery, 'Italian Drawings 1525-1750 from the Collection of Ralph Holland', no. 27
2014, 7 May-11 June, G90 display (no cat),'Recent Italian drawing acquisitions'
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- This item has an uncertain or incomplete provenance for the years 1933-45. The British Museum welcomes information and assistance in the investigation and clarification of the provenance of all works during that era.
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number