Wedding at Cana

Ippolito Scarsella, detto Scarsellino

Ferrara, c.1550 – 1620


Oil on canvas, 283 x 604cm

Girolamo Baruffaldi’s nineteenth-century ‘Vite de’ pittori e scultori ferraresi’ reports that the falsely accused Scarsellino hid away at the Monastero di San Benedetto for more than two years to avoid a sentence pending on his head. The artist produced many works for the monks during his stay, this enormous canvas for the refectory being one of them. Datable to the final years of the sixteenth century, the artist’s main inspiration for this work were the large-scale paintings (teleri) of the Venetian school and the work of Paolo Veronese. However, he substitutes the limpid and spacious ambience of the Venetian examples with strong shadows, an emphasis on narrative details and a composition that breaks the canvas up into a series of lively episodes. For a time in the church of San Cristoforo alla Certosa, this work was part of the Pinacoteca’s collection in 1846.