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372

Charles Mellin

A pope saint holding a chalice

Property from the Collection of Gerald E. Rupp

Charles Mellin

Charles Mellin

A pope saint holding a chalice

A pope saint holding a chalice

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Property from the Collection of Gerald E. Rupp

Charles Mellin

Nancy circa 1600 - 1649 Rome

A pope saint holding a chalice


oil on octagonal canvas

canvas: 26 1/4 by 21 3/8 in.; 66.6 by 54.3 cm.

framed: 33 by 28 1/4 in.; 83.8 by 71.8 cm.

The canvas has a modern relining and is stable on its stretcher. The image reads well beneath slightly discolored varnish with highlights in the halo and chalice and impasto in the face retained. The canvas weave is slightly visible to the naked eye but is not distracting. No repairs or retouching are obvious to the naked eye. Under UV inspection, the varnish fluoresces unevenly and impedes further inspection, though a few small dots of retouching are visible, and other retouching may be present beneath the varnish. The painting can hang in its present state. Offered in a decoratively carved octagonal giltwood frame.


The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.

Probably Maffeo Barberini (1631 - 1685), Rome, inv. 1655 no. 430: "Un quadro con una Testa di un Santo che tiene un Calice in mano Cornice d'Albuccio dorata in Ottangolo alto palmi quattro e mezzo in cieca largo tre";
Anonymous sale, London, Christie's, 7 April 1995, lot 32 (where unsold);
With Newhouse Galleries/Trinity Fine Arts, New York, by 1998;
From whom acquired.
P. Malgouyres, "Charles Mellin, le Dominiquin et le Guerchin," in Le Pays lorrain 2, no. 78 (April-June 1997): pp. 111-116, reproduced p. 115.
P. Malgouyres, Charles Mellin:  Un Lorrain entre Rome et Naples, exhibition catalogue, Paris 2007, pp. 109-110, 272-273, cat. no. 54, reproduced in color p. 109 (as location unknown).
New York, Newhouse Galleries, An Exhibition of Old Master Drawings, Prints, and Paintings, 1998, no. 51.

Identified in 1995 by Erich Schleier as the work of Charles Mellin, this octagonal painting is probably the one listed, without attribution to an artist, in the 1655 inventory of Maffeo Barberini, Gonfalonier of the Catholic Church and the grand-nephew of Pope Urban VIII. Another painting from his 1655 inventory, also of octagonal format and identical dimensions, was probably its pendant: it depicted a saint in prayer with hands folded and head raised, a favorite pose of Mellin's.


The saint depicted is difficult to identify, but the chasuble he wears shows Saints Peter and Paul, a type often worn by popes. Possibilities include Saint Gregory the Great, although this figure lacks the attributes of the dove of the Holy Spirit, book, and quill, and Saint Urban, though it is unlike Mellin's other representations of Urban. The age of the figure, chalice, and chasuble suggest a papal figure. The composition was a popular one, with at least eight copies made before the nineteenth century, including examples by Giullaume Courtous and Joseph-Marie Vien.1 The face, shown di sotto in su, is very similar to that of Mellin's St. Francis of Paola now in the Musée Lorrain, Nancy.2 


1. See Malgouyres 2007, cat nos. 54a - 54g.

2. Oil on canvas, 165 by 111 cm. inv. 77.2.9.