Sanctus Ioannes Gualbertus Florentinus institutor ordinis Vallisumbrosae. 

[S.l., s.n.,] 1774. 

Copper engraving on paper (575 x 410 mm), portrait of St Giovanni Gualberto to centre framed by 19 scenes from his life; central crease from folding; very good.


US $1623€1486

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Sanctus Ioannes Gualbertus Florentinus institutor ordinis Vallisumbrosae. 

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A wonderful engraving depicting scenes from the life of Saint Giovanni Gualberto (c. 985–1073, anglicised as John Gualbert), founder of the Vallombrosan Order. 

After pardoning his brother’s murderer on Good Friday, Giovanni entered the Benedictine monastery of San Miniato al Monte in Florence.  Leaving there in around 1036, he settled at Vallombrosa where he collected a body of monks who followed a strict observance of the Benedictine Rule. 

The central image here is a portrait of Giovanni, dressed in Benedictine habit and holding a cross, a devil beneath his feet, with the Trinity above, and Vallombrosa Abbey in its forest setting in the background, with Florence just visible in the far distance.  This is surrounded by nineteen scenes from his life, including a depiction of him kneeling before a crucifix said to have bowed its head to him after his act of mercy towards his brother’s killer.  Several of his miracles are represented: miraculously replenishing a sack of grain to feed the poor, taming a bear, exorcising demons, healing the wounded, and so on. 

According to the Catalogo generale dei beni culturali, this print is taken from a 1598 engraving by Epifanio d’Alfiano (1564–1616), himself a Vallombrosan, after Michelangelo Cinganelli (c. 1558–1635).  The dedication at the foot is to Mercuriale Prati (1715–1806), then abbot general of the Vallombrosan Order and later bishop of Forli. 

No copies traced in the UK or US.  The Catalogo generale dei beni culturali records a single copy, at Reggello, Florence. 

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