Saint Lucia, Saint Roch and Saint Sebastian by Jacopo Negretti known as Palma Il Giovane


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Jacopo Negretti known as Palma Il Giovane

Venice, 1544 – 1628

Saint Lucia, Saint Roch and Saint Sebastian

Pen, brown ink and heightened white gouache on gray paper. Squared with black chalk.

340 x 190 mm – 13 3/8 x 7 1/2 in.

Signed and dated in pen lower left: GP Palma 1621 genaio.

On the back inscription: G.P.n°: 12

Provenance: Venice, Zaccaria Sagredo collection, inscription on the back G. P. n° 12 (L. 2103a) – Paris, private collection – Paris, Audap-Mirabeau sale, November 17, 2015, n° 13.

This drawing comes from the collection of the Venetian Zaccaria Sagredo, it bears on the back an inscription “G. P. n° 12” and traces of the old miter mounting.

Born into a family of artists, Jacopo Negretti, known as Palma Giovane, received his artistic training from his father Antonio and his great-uncle Palma Vecchio. Sent to Rome by his first patron, Guidobaldo II della Rovere, Duke of Urbino, he was introduced to painting by studying the works of Michelangelo and Mannerist painters such as the Zuccari brothers between 1568 and 1572. Back in Venice, greatly influenced by Titian and Tintoretto, he obtained his first public commission after the fire of the Doge’s Palace in 1577: three paintings for the ceiling of the Sala del Maggior Consiglio. After the death of the great Venetian masters – Titian, Veronese and Tintoretto – he took a prominent place in Venice and was entrusted with the main works in the city and in Veneto between 1580 and 1620.

In this study, Palma il Giovane depicts three thaumaturgist saints with their attributes: in the centre, Saint Lucy carrying a tray (on which should be her eyes gouged out during her torture) and the palm of martyrdom; on the left, Saint Sebastian with his hands tied behind his back and an arrow piercing his right flank; on the right, Saint Roch lifting his tunic to show a pestilential bubo and accompanied by his dog. Devotion to these three healing saints was very important in Venice, where plague epidemics repeatedly decimated the Venetian population. Palma il Giovane, a great representative of Venetian mannerism, drew the bodies of the saints in a slender manner and accentuated their torsion. 
In 1628, the artist painted several canvases for the church of San Geremia in Venice, in which the relics of Saint Lucy are kept. This sheet, signed[1] and dated 1621, with Saint Lucy in the centre, could be a first project for an altarpiece for this church, which never saw the light of day.
[1] Identical Palma signature (cf. p. 57 Lettera di Palma il Giovane agli eletti con il disegno preparatorio per la pala dell’Annunciazione, A. A. R. C. Salò Serie 6, Massaria di chiesa, n° 212, Pro pictura chori plebis Salodij, c. 78) in Marcello Riccioni, Una riforma nella pittura Bresciana del Seicento Palma Il Giovane La decorazione del coron el Duomo di Salò, La comagnia della stampa, Roccafranca, 2008)


Condition report – Very good general condition