Saturday, July 9, 2016

Cesare Fracassini and the Martyrs of Gorkum

The article I wrote for OSV'S The Catholic Answer Magazine on the Gorkum Martyrs was illustrated with the same picture as the cover of this book, which includes a chapter on their martyrdom and beatification. The painting is by Cesare Fracassini (1838-68) who was, according to this blog,

from Orvieto, another pupil of Tommaso Minardi

It was painted on the occasion of the [1867] canonization (sic) ceremony of the saints and it was such a big success that revealed this young artist who unfortunately died the following year only 29 years old

When this painting was shown for the first time in the studio of the artist, more than 20,000 people flocked to admire it

The martyrs of Gorkum were nineteen Catholic prelates captured in Gorcum and hanged in a barn in Brielle in South Holland by Calvinists in 1572 during the Eighty Years War (1568/1648)

The Dutch United Provinces were rebelling against the domination of Spain and the Peace of Westphalia of 1648 sanctioned the independence and the birth of the Netherlands

According the Wikipedia entry, Fracassini

executed several frescoes for San Lorenzo fuori le Mura. He lived alongside the painter Cesare Mariani as a young man. He often collaborated or obtained commissions with his friend Paolo Mei, as well as a colleague of Guglielmo de Sanctis and Bernardo Celentano. . . .

He painted a St Jerome for the church of San Sebastian on via Appia. He also painted a Daphne and Chloe for an exposition in Florence. He painted the curtain or sipario for the Teatro Argentina in Rome with Numa takes the counsel of the Egerian Nymph. He painted a large canvas of Apollo and Phaeton with the Solar chariot, among others for the theater, and also painted a sipario [the curtain?] for the theater of Orvieto. He was commissioned to paint a number of canvases for the decoration of San Lorenzo fuori la Mura. Fracassini was admired for his speed of painting.

The painting is now hung in the Sala Sobieski in the Vatican Museums. The Sala Sobieski commemorates the victory of the Polish King John III Sobieski over the Turks after the siege of Vienna in 1683.

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