MATTIA PRETI (Taverna, 1613 - Valletta, 1699)
Saint in preaching with big book in hand
Oil on canvas, cm. 97,5x84. Framed
Painting in temporary importation.
We are grateful to Prof. Riccardo Lattuada and Dott. Yuri Primarosa who independently confirmed the attribution of the painting to Mattia Preti.
This painting is an important addition to the catalogue of Mattia Preti, most likely dating through the seventh and the half of the eightht decade of the 17th century, during his long Maltese stay. Difficult to identify, the mighty figure of a bearded saint, just dressed in a dark habit, shows the forefinger of his right hand pointing the sky and holds a voluminous tome with his left hand: these clues, also considering the penetrating gaze directly turned to the spectator, could identify him with a preacher figure. This beautiful canvas presents clear analogies of technique, style and composition with various single-figure paintings of saints and prophets by Mattia Preti, including the Saint Publius, the first Bishop of Malta from a Maltese private collection, the Saint Paul Hermit in the Museum of Fine Art in La Vallettae and Saint Paul passed on September 23rd 2015 at Christie's auction in London (l. 229). But above all our painting shows clear affinities with that of a similar subject preserved at the Musée Fabre in Montpellier (inv. D803.1.2).
Private collection, Malta