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Saint Gaudioso
Girolamo Romanino
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This painting is part of Romanino’s high altarpiece for S. Alessandro in Brescia. It depicts Saint Gaudioso and is situated to the left of an image of the Nativity, above a panel of Saint Alexander.

Saint Gaudioso was included in the altarpiece as he was a fifth-century bishop of Brescia. He died in about 445 but his bones were rediscovered in 1454, when the church of S. Alessandro was under construction, and were conserved as a relic in one of the altars. He wears his bishop’s mitre and a large oval morse fastens the jewelled border of his cope. The figures on the morse probably represent the two persons of the Trinity – God and Christ. The face of Saint Gaudioso may be a portrait of a distinguished churchman of Romanino’s own day.

Key facts
Artist Girolamo Romanino
Artist dates about 1484 - about 1560
Full title Saint Gaudioso
Group High Altarpiece, S. Alessandro, Brescia
Date made about 1524
Medium and support Oil on wood
Dimensions 74.2 x 65.2 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1857
Inventory number NG297.4
Location in Gallery Room 2
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High Altarpiece, S. Alessandro, Brescia

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Romanino made this painting for the high altar of Sant' Alessandro in Brescia. It may have been commissioned by the Confraternity of Corpus Christi – a lay brotherhood which venerated the body of Christ – who were responsible for the high altar.

The central panel shows the Nativity, with Mary and Joseph kneeling before the infant Christ. On either side, panels depict Saint Alexander (lower left) and Saint Jerome (lower right). Above them are Saint Gaudioso (upper left) and Saint Filippo Benizzi (upper right.)

The painting originally had a crowning panel of the dead Saviour supported by the Virgin and Saint John. It also had large canvas shutters to protect it – The Annunciation was painted on the outside of the shutters, and on the inside was The Adoration of the Magi. The elaborate frame of the altarpiece, made by the woodcarver Stefano Lamberti, which would have formed a fundamental part of it, is now missing.

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