Going for Baroque at Iona

Lost Baroque masterpiece on display at Iona College.

A Baroque painting considered lost to art history for more than 50 years is on exhibit at Iona College through December.

A sharp-eyed art historian, Iona College visual arts professor Thomas Ruggio, knew that a painting of the Holy Family with the infant St. John was a 17th-century Italian Baroque work when he visited the Church of the Holy Family, which is two blocks from Iona College’s New Rochelle campus.

“I’m used to wandering into churches and I find it very peaceful. I was there at least three times before I noticed the painting one day when the lights were on brightly,” said Ruggio, whose scholarly research includes the history and techniques of Italian Old Masters. “I knew it was a 17th-century painting. It’s something you expect to find in Italy, but it was really out of place in a church in New York.”

After conferring with fellow scholars in Italy and at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Cesare Dandini was identified as the artist. The painting is connected to at least three other paintings by Dandini, including work in The Metropolitan Museum of Art and in the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Dandini (1596-1657) was part of a family of painters living and working in Florence during the Baroque period. Studying with Francesco Curradi, Cristofano Allor and Domenico Passignano, he made his own reputation as one of the best Italian painters of the 17th century.

The painting was possibly purchased in Rome by Msgr. Charles Fitzgerald to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Church of the Holy Family. It was long considered lost to the world of art history as the congregation did not know that it had a Dandini work in their possession.

Now, everyone does.

“Cesare Dandini’s Holy Family with the Infant St. John: A Rediscovered Florentine Baroque Masterpiece” is on view in Ionas Ryan Library from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. The Ryan Library is  at 715 North Ave. For more, visit iona.edu/libraries.

More from Georgette Gouveia
Planting seeds in the garden of earthly delights Ever since Eve tempted...
Read More
Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *