The Assumption of the Immaculate Virgin with St. John the Evangelist and Angels

WAG 1995.199


A study or modello for the artist's fresco on the apse of the church of San Michele in Bosco, Bologna. The drawn modello differs slightly from the finished fresco, executed in 1680-81, which shows an older bearded St John the Evangelist with his attribute of an eagle. The dogma and iconography for the image of the Immaculate Conception triumphing over Original Sin was based on John the Evangelist's description of his vision of the Virgin as the Woman of the Apocalypse (Revelation, ch.XII: verse 1-2) and was only officially recognised by the Roman Catholic Church in 1671. In this drawing Canuti gave the Virgin a halo composed of wash and blank paper as shown in the sensitively applied pale areas of wash in top centre, which would become in his fresco the golden light surrounding the Virgin. This kind of subtle treatment of colours was much admired by 18th century connoisseurs. William Roscoe owned a further three wash drawings attributed to Canuti, WAG 1995.277 (attributed to Canuti by Christie's), WAG 1995.365 and WAG 1995.99, the last of which was probably by his pupil Giuseppe Rolli.