College professor recognizes 17th century masterpiece hanging in a nearby church

Church of the Holy Household is situated only a few blocks from the campus of Iona School, and Tom Ruggio advised CNN he would typically go to through the church’s “off hours” for the quiet and solitude.

Ruggio lived in Italy for about 9 years finding out artwork, and when he walked within the church with the lights just a little brighter than regular, he could not imagine what caught his eye.

“Up in the midst of the church, excessive up on the suitable facet, I instantly recognized an Italian Baroque portray, and I could not imagine what I used to be taking a look at,” Ruggio mentioned.

“So, I obtained up and began taking photos with my cellphone and I used to be very excited. I used to be initially shocked, however very excited.”

Ruggio contacted colleagues in Italy and got here to seek out out the portray was a bit by Cesare Dandini, referred to as “Holy Household with the Toddler St. John.” The portray has been hanging within the church for the previous 60 years, however Ruggio estimates it was painted within the 1630s, based mostly on another artistic endeavors.

The portray is a part of a collection of 4 works referred to as “Charity.” One other of the Dandini work hangs within the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, with a creation date across the similar time, and a 3rd is within the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia. The fourth portray is unaccounted for. Ruggio mentioned solely a black and white picture proves its existence.

“The 4 work are linked and, fascinatingly sufficient to me, is doing one thing that almost all Baroque painters aren’t doing any extra within the seventeenth century. Lots of them are going straight to canvas,” Ruggio mentioned. “So my competition is, he is a part of a Renaissance legacy, and persevering with the custom of engaged on paper.”

The work are additionally painted in a type of cartoon type, Ruggio mentioned.

“It is fairly fascinating. So, not solely will we get a powerful — just about as I name a slam-dunk — attribution due to the connecting work, however we additionally get a have a look at its course of,” he mentioned.

So how did the portray find yourself within the church all this years? Nicely, that half remains to be a thriller, Ruggio mentioned. It is rumored to have been purchased overseas by one of many church’s former monsignors within the 1960’s, he mentioned.

However now, the portray is being loaned to Iona for 3 months in an exhibit on campus. It is free for the general public and contains reproductions of the corresponding works, and a few works that designate Dandini’s improvement and his course of.

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