PACECCO DE ROSA
Naples, 1607 – 1656
Madonna of Purity
oil on canvas, cm 95 diameter
This canvas is a tondo depicting the Madonna and Child. It is a beautiful version of the famous and much lauded Madonna of Purity painted by Luis De Morales for the Spanish priest Diego Bernaudo y Mendoza in 1641 and given to the order of Theatines, who were based in the church of San Paolo Maggiore in Naples. The Chapel of the Madonna of Purity was created specifically to house the painting, and the decoration of the side walls was entrusted to two leading Neapolitan artists, Massimo Stanzione, to whom the main canvases are attributed, and Pacecco de Rosa, who is believed to have painted the lunettes.
Our work can be attributed to Pacecco de Rosa because of the contrasting pale light that strikes her complexion and the intense red highlights on the faces of the Madonna and Child. The elegant tapered fingers and the melancholy tone of the composition differ slightly from the original, which is less expressive, and show how the canvas is a derivation rather than a mere replica.