The Madonna between Saints

The altar-piece of the The Madonna between Saint Filippo Neri and Saint Francesco di Sales  by Giancarlo Bevilacqua (1793)

This piece represents The Madonna between Saints Filippo Neri and Francesco di Sales and was painted between 1793/4 by the young Giovanni Bevilacqua, a follower of Maggiotto who in turn was inspired by Tiepolo. The painting was hung in place of that of Fontebasso which depicted the same subject but which had deteriorated badly due to adverse environmental and atmospheric conditions. A graceful little angel in the centre of the panel holds written information of the date of execution for the congregation Filippina in Chioggia.
The composition of the panel, evidently devotional, is of an ascending rhythmic form following articulated figures upwards from the naked man prostrate and tormented in the foreground. The canvas itself is not easy to read, but the prostrate figure clasping a serpent seems to represent sin and earthly temptation. The zigzagging line of the composition develops through the figure of San Francesco, who indicates the Virgin and San Filippo, slightly raised on the right and who instead in his gestures seems to refuse earthly temptations, looking faithfully at the Virgin.
The pyramidal composition dominated by the tender figure of the Madonna with Child resolves itself in a delicate group of angels in an aureola which opens under an architectural arch just visible in the background.


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