Currently on View in C202
The story of the Devil's appearance to St. Dominic in the form of a monkey derives from a medieval legend, according to which the saint seized his tormentor and forced him to hold a lighted candle while he studied. St. Dominic released him only after the candle burned down and singed his fingers.
This candle-illuminated scene is inspired by a famous lost masterpiece of antiquity. Antiphilus of Alexandria's Boy Blowing on a Fire was renowned for its beautifully rendered effects of firelight. Pietro della Vecchia's painting makes deliberate reference to it and to his own celebrated ability to imitate earlier masters.
Provenance research is on-going at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Please contact Annette Schlagenhauff, Curator of Special Projects, at firstname.lastname@example.org, if you have questions, or if you have additional information to share with us.