The picture was unknown before its appearance at auction in 2011 with the correct attribution but a mistaken identification of the saint as Bernard. Stylistically it can be dated to the artist's best period, probably shortly after he had begun working in Reggio Emilia in 1618. The same physiognomy, for example, is found in a Miracle of Saint Dominic from 1614 in the church of San Domenico in Bologna, while the same dynamic gesture recurs in the fresco of the Meeting of Deborah and Barak from 1619 in the Basilica of the Madonna della Ghiara in Reggio Emilia.1 The angel, too, recalls similar figures from that same fresco cycle.
Saint Dominic and an Angel may be a pendant to Tiarini’s Madonna of the Rosary in the Museo d’Arte Industriale e Galleria “Davia-Bargellini,” Bologna (fig. 1). Both paintings are closely related through their subject matter of the Rosary. In addition, both include the device of a parapet in the foreground and were undoubtedly intended as overdoors, to be seen from below. The Madonna of the Rosary is slightly larger (116 by 158 cm.), however the original horizontal shape of Saint Dominic and an Angel was altered at one time, expanded at the top and bottom to create a vertical composition. These additions were subsequently removed to return it to a horizontal format, but it is possible that the original size of the canvas has been somewhat altered.
The attribution has been endorsed by Professor Daniele Benati, whose report forms the basis of this entry.
1. See D. Benati, Alessandro Tiarini, L'Opera Pittorica Completa e I Desegni, Milan 2001, vol. 2, p. 45, cat. no. 67, reproduced in color, vol. 1, p. 67, fig. 59; vol. 2, p. 62, cat. no. 87, reproduced in color, vol. 1, p. 81, fig. 68.
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