near Rome ca.1630 — 1671 Rome

St. Francis Xavier Preaching to a Rapt Crowd

black chalk underdrawing, brush & grey ink & wash. 91/8 x 12" (232 x 315mm). laid down to an old, ruled mount.

a private German collection.

The attribution of this beautifully realized drawing was proposed by Ursula Fischer Pace.1 Marco Ciampolini kindly brought to my attention a small painting in a private collection in Siena that is based on this drawing.2 That painting may have been presented for approval of design to the client who would have commissioned a larger final version or fresco.

Lucatelli was a pupil of Ciro Ferri and Pietro da Cortona. His fame during the baroque period was due to his imaginative work in Sant'Agostino in Rome and for the audacity of his color displayed in paintings for the Palazzo Colonna. He worked as well in Siena, in the church of San Fancesco and the hospital Santa Maria della Scala. His drawings have not yet been sufficiently studied to permit identification and likely reattribution, in museum collections. Aspects of this drawing, for instance, show the influence of both Cortona an Mola.

St. Francis Xavier was the Patron Saint of the Jesuits. He was born to an aristocratic family but in 1529 took vows of chastity and poverty after encountered Ignatius Loyala while studying at the University of Paris. In Rome he helped prepare the ground for the foundation of the Society of Jesus. At the Pope’s request, he went to Goa, the capital of the Portuguese Indies in 1542. As a missionary, he went on to Malacca and Amboina. In 1549 he arrived in Kagoshima, Japan where he continued to win converts for two years before returning to India. He died on a journey from Malacca to China in 1542 and was canonized in 1623.

In a letter dated April 16th, 2000.


In an e-mail on 8/30/06.