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Luca Giordano, Saint Anthony of Padua restores the Foot of a Man

Key facts
Full title Saint Anthony of Padua miraculously restores the Foot of a Self-Mutilated Man
Artist Luca Giordano
Artist dates 1634 - 1705
Date made before 1700
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 105.5 × 80.3 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by C.W. Dopson, 1901
Inventory number NG1844
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Saint Anthony of Padua restores the Foot of a Man
Luca Giordano

This is a preparatory sketch for one of a series of eight frescoes that Giordano painted on the walls just below the dome of the church of San Antonio de los Alemanes in Madrid. The frescoes depict miracles performed by Saint Anthony, and this sketch represents one of the stranger episodes in his life. When a young man named Leonardo confessed to Anthony that he had kicked his mother, the saint replied that the foot deserved to be cut off. When Leonardo did exactly that, Saint Anthony miraculously reattached it.

Here, Saint Anthony stands on the steps in his monk’s habit, holding the newly restored limb of the swooning Leonardo. Like the other seven episodes in the series, Giordano designed this fresco to look like a tapestry held up by the two angels at the upper corners – they seem to be unfurling the picture so as to reveal the miracle to the congregation in the church below.

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