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Europe

| The Charity of St Thomas of Villanova |

Melchiorre Cafà (1636-1667)

The Charity of St Thomas of Villanova

Artist
Melchiorre Cafà (1636-1667)
Date
1663
Size
h. 46, w. 28, d. 20 cm
Technique
Terracotta
Location
Europe Gallery – Mobility, Connections, Directions
The Maltese sculptor Melchiorre Cafà was admired as a brilliant virtuoso of the Roman Baroque. His talents even attracted the attention of the great sculptor and architect, Gian Lorenzo Bernini. He died in Rome at the young age of 31, leaving behind a number of unfinished commissions. This work is a model for the ‘Charity of St Thomas of Villanova’ in the Pamphili family chapel in the Church of S. Agostino in Rome. The bozzetto was executed with great confidence and boldness, particularly as Cafà pushes the figures of Charity and the children outside the niche that frames the central figure of St Thomas of Villanova. The elongation of the figures and the fleeting movement in the drapery show unprecedented originality in the sculptor’s style and technique. He died before finishing the marble sculpture which was completed by Ercole Ferrata in whose bottega Cafà worked.

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