The Martyrdom of Saint Vitalis

WAG 1995.311


A working compositional 'modello' and study for the painted altarpiece commissioned in 1580 and completed in 1583 for the church of S. Vitale in Ravenna and now in the Brera, Milan. Its battered appearance and the fact that it shows more than one method of design transfer (ie. the use of a stylus, pricked holes and pounced chalk along the design's outlines, and squaring to enlarge the whole composition) suggests that it may be one of the two 'cartoncini' or compositional cartoons that remained in Barocci's studio until his death in 1583 and which he continually modified up to that time.