The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of July 24, 2024

Saint Paul the Hermit

Saint Paul the Hermit

c. 1662–1664
(Italian, 1613–1699)
Framed: 121 x 94 x 8 cm (47 5/8 x 37 x 3 1/8 in.); Unframed: 103 x 76.2 cm (40 9/16 x 30 in.)
Location: not on view

Did You Know?

Clothed only in a rough woven cloth, Paul's suffering drew him spiritually closer to Christ.


After training in Rome in the 1630s and 1640s, Preti went to Naples where he continued working in a mode inspired by the work of Caravaggio. In this painting, dramatic lighting and intense naturalism depict the intersection of the heavenly and earthly realms. According to Catholic tradition, Saint Paul the Hermit fled into the desert to escape persecution from the Romans in the third century, and is revered as the first of many hermit saints. A raven brought Saint Paul a half a loaf of bread daily, which enabled him to survive to the age of 113 years. Preti depicted the saint looking heavenward in appreciation and awe of his heavenly provider.
  • Anonymous private collection, England (sold, Sotheby’s, London, March 26, 1969, lot 59, to Perretti); Perretti
    Julius Weitzner (London, England), sold to the Cleveland Museum of Art, 1969.
  • The Cleveland Museum of Art. The Cleveland Museum of Art Catalogue of Paintings, Part 3: European Paintings of the 16th, 17th, and 18th Centuries. Cleveland, OH: The Cleveland Museum of Art, 1982. Reproduced: p. 393; Mentioned: p. 392
  • Baroque Imagery. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (organizer) (November 6, 1984-January 6, 1985).
    CMA, November 6, 1984-January 6, 1985: "Broque Imagery," cat. #, pp. 20-21, repr. p. 21.
    CMA: January 28 throigh February 22, 1970: "Year in Review for 1969", catalogue, Bulletin CMA, LVII (Jan. 1970), p. 48, no. 148, repr. p. 16.
    Year in Review: 1969. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (organizer) (January 27-February 22, 1970).
  • {{cite web|title=Saint Paul the Hermit|url=false|author=Mattia Preti|year=c. 1662–1664|access-date=24 July 2024|publisher=Cleveland Museum of Art}}

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