St. Philip Neri - Carlo Dolci
The painting of St. Philip Neri by Carlo Dolci is a captivating masterpiece that exudes an extraordinary level of physical presence. Created in honor of St. Philip Neri, the renowned founder of the Oratorians, the artist began this posthumous portrait on May 26, the feast day of St. Philip Neri, and completed it within eight days. The inscription reveals that Dolci embarked on this endeavor at the age of thirty in either 1645 or 1646. To achieve such remarkable realism, the artist likely utilized a death mask of Neri, resulting in a portrayal that captures the pure and childlike essence described by contemporaries. Despite numerous attempts by other painters, Dolci's work successfully conveys the radiant light emanating from St. Philip Neri's face and eyes, as witnessed by those who knew him. This painting, now housed in the church of San Firenze in Florence, stands as a testament to Dolci's exceptional skill and ability to immortalize the spiritual essence of his subject.