Biagio (?) Manzoni,
Martyrdom of St. Eutropius

Biagio (?) Manzoni,
Martyrdom of St. Eutropius

Biagio (?) Manzoni, Martyrdom of St. Eutropius
Canvas, 271×178 cm + frame 10 cm, Inv. n. 134

This work depicts, in an extremely realistic and crude fashion, the scene of the martyrdom of St. Eutropius. The body of the beheaded saint is being held by some men while his head is on the ground next to a man who is gathering the yellow cape and pastoral staff. From above, the Archangel Gabriel is holding a palm, the symbol of martyrdom, and overlooking the scene.

Roberto Longhi examined Biagio Manzoni in detail, defining him a “borderline Caravaggesque”, indicating how precisely in the Martyrdom of St. Eutropius the artist has attained an explicitly “austere” result in the tradition of Caravaggio, for the «literal truth that runs through the work as a whole, prone to the most blatant brutality in the pondering of martyrdom: nothing more need be said, given the graphic image of saint’s headless neck in the foreground as if in a display of fresh cold meats».

About this work, Daniele Benati wrote, in the catalogue of the exhibition that the city of Forlì dedicated to Cagnacci in 2008, that «the wealth of references to early seventeenth-century Roman painting that Manzoni is capable of making is astonishing, beginning with Caravaggio himself, cited here in the rogue in jacket and red knee-length trousers, which evokes the martyrdom of St. Peter in the Basilica of Santa Maria del Popolo».

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