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Tiepolo made this sketch in preparation for one of the seven altarpieces he painted for the Church of San Pascual in Aranjuez (Spain). This was his last major commission. The church was built by Charles III for the Alcantarine friars, also known as Discalced (barefoot) Franciscans and the subjects chosen reflect the order's austere Christianity. Tiepolo’s paintings however hung in the church for only a few years. The king found them old-fashioned and had them removed. Charles Borromeo, shown in meditation before a crucifix, was the king's name saint and a protector of the Franciscans. The sumptuous setting and the saint’s rich garments contrast strongly with the austerity of Tiepolo’s other sketches for Aranjuez. Tiepolo was particularly concerned to differentiate the psychological character of each saint.
Saint Charles Borromeo Meditating on the Crucifix
oil on canvas
H 63.4 x W 38.3 cm
Princes Gate bequest, 1978