Luigi Miradori

Italy fl. 1639-1651
Sacrifice of Issac 25.0002

This painting depicts a scene in the life of Abraham and his son Isaac, which is told in Genesis 22. To test Abraham's faith, God commanded him to sacrifice his son, Isaac, as a burnt offering. They traveled to the place of sacrifice and gathered the wood for the altar. Abraham bound his son and as he began to plunge the knife into Isaac's body, an angel stopped him. A ram caught in a nearby thicket was offered instead. Abraham said that he followed God's instructions because he was convinced that God would raise his son up from the dead. The story came to assume a foreshadowing, in Christian belief, of the Crucifixion. Here, an angel halts Abraham at the most dramatic point in the narrative---right before he plunges the knife into his son's throat. This painting has proven a mystery to many art historians, and has been attributed to various Italian artists. At one time it was thought to be a work by Caravaggio. Recent scholarship has shifted the attribution to a 17th century Lombard (northern Italian) painter, Luigi Miradori, who worked extensively in Genoa (hence his nickname, "Il Genovesino"). Miradori painted many religious works for the churches in the city of Cremone that derive their sense of close space and dramatic lighting from Caravaggio. The Counter Reformation in Lombardy produced paintings by several northern Italian artists that displayed the most edifying and pietistic representations of miraculous interventions, ecstacies, and martyrdoms.




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