Alessandro Tiarini
(Bologna 1577 – 1668)

Apparition to St. Francesca Romana

Oil on canvas, 110 x 94 cm

«… sembrò egli [Tiarini] un Seneca fra’ Pittori, tanto si mostrò anch’egli nello spirito grande unito alla gravità dell’opre pesato, e serio; oltre che nissuna facezia di lui raccontasi» (he [Tiarini] seemed like a Seneca amongst painters, for he showed such a great spirit, together with a gravitas in his work, and a seriousness; furthermore there have never been any trivialities told about him) [Malvasia, C. C., “Felsina pittrice”, Bologna 1678, II, pp. 210-211]. The theme chosen confirms the biographer’s words: the veiled Saint’s little son Evangelista, who was taken by the plague, appears to her in a dream. Tiarini, enchanted by this vision, returned to it several times, reports Oretti (once in the Foscherari chapel in the Church of San Petronio, once on the third altar in San Bernardo and once again in the third chapel in the San Michele in Bosco Church). This will be the «S.a Francesca Romana mezze figure quanto è il naturale del Tiarino» (the half-length portrait of St. Francesca Romana, as is natural in Tiarini’s work) that was once found in the guest quarters of the San Michele in Bosco Church.