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Polidoro da Caravaggio: 'The Way to Calvary'

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This is one of three preparatory oil sketches for Polidoro's most important Sicilian commission, a monumental altarpiece of the same subject painted for the church of the Catalan brotherhood in Messina. The altarpiece was completed before 1534. It was carried aloft in a street procession, forming part of a moving Passion play, and was revered by the islanders as a kind of miraculous relic.

It is painted in a wild, expressive and original style, and is one of the earliest examples of an oil sketch in existence.