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Portrait of a Friar Dressed as St. Thomas Aquinas

Girolamo Mazzola Bedoli

Girolamo Bedoli was so heavily influenced by his cousin-by-marriage Parmigianino that the attribution of several paintings is still open to debate. It is a portrait of a Dominican friar in the robes of St. Thomas Aquinas, one of the order’s foremost saints. The painter uses a minimal yet varied palette, differentiating for instance between the white of the friar’s habit, the white of the codex he is holding and the white of the scattered sheets of paper or the folded letter lying on the desk.



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Thomas Aquinas was famously fat, and hence this gaunt image of the famous Dominican may portray someone else, personified as the great scholar saint.  Once in Naples a crucifix is said to have spoken aloud to him, saying, “You have written well about me, Thomas.”  Here the tiny carved image has come to life, unfurling his words in a graceful circle, but the two figures do not meet eye to eye.  A vast distance still divides them.”
Ingrid Rowland

Download hi-res image TITLE Portrait of a Friar Dressed as St. Thomas Aquinas
AUTHOR Girolamo Mazzola Bedoli
DATE 1550 - 2
DIMENSIONS cm 105 x 78
Work on display
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