Giovanni Battista Pittoni

The Apotheosis of Saint Jerome with Saint Peter of Alcántara and an Unidentified Franciscan (About 1725)

About this artwork

St Jerome on a cloud is guided heavenwards by a guardian angel. His hand rests on a skull, symbolizing the transience of earthly life. The painting was made for an altar in the nave of the popular Venetian church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli. The church was run by Franciscan nuns and in the foreground is a Franciscan friar who can be identified as the renowned sixteenth-century Spanish preacher St Peter of Alcantara. He emphasizes the spiritual character of the event, experiencing the vision of St Jerome inwardly. The altarpiece, which was painted around 1725, was originally arched at the top.

Giovanni Battista Pittoni

Giovanni Battista Pittoni

The Venetian painter Pittoni enjoyed a long, prolific and successful career. Although not as dazzling as his contemporary Tiepolo, he was, nevertheless, admired for his light-filled history paintings, dramatic altarpieces and depictions of secular subjects. He probably trained first with his uncle, Francesco, a rather mediocre artist, but was able to build on the legacy of Titian, Tintoretto and Veronese. He became skilled in restoring old master paintings and looked after paintings belonging to the Venetian State. He was a founder member of the Venetian Academy in 1756 and became its President in 1758 and 1763.