Description Signoretto Alliata was a nobleman of Pisa who spent his life on Sicily, working in hospitals. Late in life, he became a hermit and lived in seclusion in a deserted place on the shore. According to legend, he received his martyrdom near his dwelling at the hands of a band of North African pirates. In the painting, the pirates can be recognized as Muslims by their turbans. To a Christian audience, the scene conveyed the death of a blessed man at the hands of infidels. His luminous pale body and drapery symbolize his purity. Angels hand him the crown of martyrdom. This loosely painted scene was a preparatory version for a large painting commissioned for the cathedral of Pisa by Count Tommaso Alliata Campiglia, who wanted to honor his holy ancestor. For more information on this painting, please see Federico Zeri's 1976 catalogue no. 429, pp. 540-541.
Provenance Galleria des Monte di Pietà, Rome [date and mode of acquisition unknown] [no. 1602]; Cassa dei Depositi e Prestiti, Rome [date and mode of acquistion unknown]; Cassa dei Depositi e Prestiti Sale, Rome, November 30, 1875, no. 65 [as Cades]; Don Marcello Massarenti Collection, Rome [date and mode of acquistion unknown] [1897 catalogue: no. 431, as a study of a painting in Venice representing St. Luke by Tiepolo]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1902, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters with the Massarenti Collection, 1902
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