- Gallery Text
Vignon was trained in Paris, but traveled to Rome as a young artist. Like many other artists living in Rome, he was influenced by the naturalism and dramatic lighting of Caravaggio. That influence is apparent here in this half-length depiction of Saint Paul, who is pushed close to the picture plane and seems to address the viewer directly, creating a life-like presence.Saint Paul holds a sword, an attribute referring to his later martyrdom. The books, papers, and quill relate to his role as one of the authors of the New Testament and the many letters he penned. The small, intimate format of the painting suggests that it was commissioned for private devotional use, perhaps by an educated patron who identified with the scholarly activities of the saint. It is possible that this is the painting of Saint Paul men-tioned in the 1627 inventory of Cardinal Francesco Maria Del Monte, an early patron of Caravaggio who had an important collection of Caravaggesque paintings.
- Identification and Creation
- Physical Descriptions
- Oil on canvas
- 95 x 116.5 cm (37 3/8 x 45 7/8 in.)
framed: 106.8 x 129.4 x 8.3 cm (42 1/16 x 50 15/16 x 3 1/4 in.)
- [Commissaires-Priseurs: Ader, Picard, Tajan, Drouot Montaigne, Paris, June 29, 1989, lot 5]. [Christie's, London, December 13, 1991, lot 222].  [Christie's, London, April 23, 1993, lot 216], sold; to Harvard Art Museums, 1993
 The painting was bought in at the 1991 sale.
- Acquisition and Rights
- Credit Line
- Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Purchase through the generosity of an Anonymous Donor
- Accession Year
- Object Number
- European and American Art
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- Publication History
Important and Fine Old Master Pictures, auct. cat., Christie's, London (London, December 13, 1991), lot no. 222
Paola Pacht Bassani, Claude Vignon (1593-1670), Arthena (Paris, 1992), p. 174, fig. 14, repr.
Important and Fine Old Master Pictures, auct. cat., Christie's, London (London, April 23, 1993), p. 170, lot 216
Important Old Master Pictures, auct. cat., Christie's, London (London, December 7, 2006), under lot 64
Matthias Waschek, Marjorie B. Cohn, Judith Mann, and Stephan Wolohojian, Ideal [Dis-] Placements: Old Masters at the Pulitzer, exh. cat., Pulitzer Arts Foundation (St. Louis, 2008), p. 20, cat. no. 13
Gedi Sibony, Marjorie B. Cohn, and Emily Rauh Pulitzer, In the Still Epiphany, exh. cat., Pulitzer Arts Foundation (St. Louis, MO, 2012), p. 47, repr. [on display at Pulitzer Foundation]
- Exhibition History
Ideal [Dis-] Placements: Old Masters at the Pulitzer, Pulitzer Arts Foundation, St. Louis, 10/24/2008 - 10/03/2009
32Q: 2400 French/Italian/Spanish, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 03/28/2019 - 07/27/2021
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