Il ristoro miracoloso (1604-1605)

Carracci, Annibale (1560-1609)

Il ristoro miracoloso (The miraculous refreshment)
Fresco transferred to canvas, 126 x 230.5 cm
Museo del PradoMadrid

The paintings in the chapel paid for by the Spanish banker Juan Enríquez de Herrera in the church of Santiago de los Españoles reproduce scenes from the life of Saint Diego de Alcalá, an Andalusian Franciscan who died in 1463 and canonized by Sixtus V, also a Franciscan, on December 2. July 1588. Undoubtedly, they can be considered the great unknowns in Annibale Carracci‘s catalogue, with works scattered in three cities in two different countries (MadridBarcelona and Rome). The Madrid ensemble is made up of seven frescoes. The first are the four trapezoids that decorated the vault of the chapel and that narrate matters related to the life of San Diego de Alcalá: San Diego receives alms (P2798), the miraculous repair (P2909), San Diego saves the sleeping boy in the oven (P2910) and San Diego receives the Franciscan habit (P2908). In addition, the Prado Museum has three of the ovals that were located on the pendentives: San Lorenzo (P78), the most beautiful of them all, San Francisco (P76) and Santiago el Mayor (P77). The decoration of the Herrera chapel succeeded in time the works carried out by Annibale Carracci in the Farnese gallery, the work that made him famous among his contemporaries. This was followed by the space that concerns us and the works known as the Aldobrandini lunettes, religious landscapes of controversial chronology. The three interventions, carried out under very different circumstances, were conceived by Annibale and partially carried out by him with the help of his assistants, mainly Francesco Albani. The scenes in the Herrera chapel in Santiago de los Españoles are part of a new conception of religious painting that emerged in Rome around the turn of the century, consisting of the production of narratives drawn from daily life, credible to their contemporaries, in the line of what was advocated by reformers of the Church such as Cesare Baronio. The biography of San Diego de Alcalá himself contributed to this, a modest character whose life passed through paths absent from epic, with two stellar moments: his evangelizing trip to the Canary Islands and the one carried out in Rome in 1450, on the occasion of his canonization. of Saint Bernardino of Siena and of the jubilee celebrated that year. This absence of epic was represented by Carracci with a barely emphatic tone, consistent with the aforementioned school of thought and Diego’s biography. The paintings in the Herrera chapel were transferred to canvas at the request of the sculptor Antonio Solá, at the expense of Ferdinand VII, and arrived in Spain in 1851.

Úbeda de los Cobos, Andrés, ‘La capilla Herrera en Santiago de los Españoles. El último fresco de Annibale Carracci en Roma’ En:. Annibale Carracci. Los frescos de la Capilla Herrera en RomaMuseo Nacional del PradoMuseu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, 2022, p.83-135. (MNP)

See also:

• Carracci, Annibale (1560-1609): Affreschi della Cappella Herrera (1604-06)