Saint Cecilia, ca. 1626
Oil on canvas.
Vouet participated in the early Baroque in Rome, worked throughout Italy, then helped lay the foundation of French classicism. This Saint Cecilia is a masterpiece from the even of his departure from Rome. Its monumentality and tactile appeal, especially in the draperies, are inspired by the dramatic realism of Caravaggio, but the rare palette and the saintís stylized ecstasy transcend any obvious naturalism. An image of extraordinary beauty, this is the centerpiece of a group of seven paintings by the artist and his circle in the museumís collection.