Savinien PETIT (Trémilly 1815 - Paris 1878)

The Tomb of Saint Cecilia in Rome

Black chalk and stumping, heightened with touches of gold, within a fictive decorated border in watercolour, on paper laid down on a paper tablet.
Signed SAVINIEN PETIT DELT. in the lower left margin.
Inscribed and dated SAINTE CECILE IN TRASTEVERE. ROME. MARS 1849 (over traces of an earlier inscription in pencil) in the lower right margin.
Further inscribed SAINTE CÉCILE / VIERGE, ET/ MARTYR / ROMAINE. below the image.
153 x 333 mm. (6 x 13 1/8 in.) [image, including fictive mount]
259 x 400 mm. (10 1/4 x 15 3/4 in.) [tablet]


The years that Savinien Petit spent in Italy, between 1845 and 1850, were of fundamental importance to his artistic development. As Pierre Depelchin’s posthumous biography, published soon after the artist’s death, noted, ‘His love of antiquity, his natural taste for religious painting, and, ultimately, his Christian piety, developed and strengthened in him during his five-year stay in Italy. This was the true school in which this pure and profoundly Catholic talent was formed.’

Dated 1849, this striking drawing is a copy of the celebrated marble sculpture of Saint Cecilia by the Roman sculptor Stefano Maderno (c.1576-1636), completed in 1600 for the saint’s tomb in the church of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere.

Savinien PETIT

The Tomb of Saint Cecilia in Rome


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