|San Gaetano in Art|
|Especially in Italy in all the places San Gaetano passed through, one can find churches and museums containing pictures and statues of him. One can also find numerous pieces in private collections. The Theatines of his order promoted his fame and devotion in other countries after spreading all over Italy. After Italy, the Theatine order was called to Spain and from there, his fame took a leap across the ocean to the Americas.
Traditional art in the 'New World' shows San Gaetano dressed in a simple priestly cassock or in a monk habit with a heart with wings on his chest. At times he is depicted with a book, a pen, a lily and a heart on fire; other times he is assisted by angels or cherubs; many times he has Baby Jesus in his arms. But the scene in which one can recognize him best is where we see him accepting Baby Jesus from His Mother, reminding us of the Blessed Vision he had at the start of his priesthood.
We will first have a look at the more important pieces by well known painters, also we will note some curiosities from both Europe and the Americas.
1. Apparition of the Sacred Family to San Gaetano 1735-36
Oil on canvas 128x73cm painting, composed of four figures. Bottom right, San Gaetano holds his hands to his chest and looks at Baby Jesus; he seems submissive and at the same time praising the Lord. At his side is an altar, at his feet a lily, symbol of chastity. Clouds support the Sacred family, St Joseph holding a smiling Baby Jesus while looking at San Gaetano. Sitting higher up on the right Mary is directing her glance to San Gaetano while she presents him the Holy Babe. Two cherubs hold her veil behind her and on the left there is an angel in the shadows holding onto a cloud and holding a cane of lilies, symbol of chastity. Picture on Right.....
|2. The Apotheosis of San Gaetano Thiene 1757
This painting hangs at the church of Santa Maria Maddalena at Rampazzo di Camisano Vicentino. It represents the exaltation of the Saint to heaven and was commissioned by the Thiene family. The little church in the picture is there to commemorate the construction of the parish church that the Saint himself had asked to be built, in fact his right hand is pointing at it. San Gaetano is shown in priestly robes reaching heaven supported by clouds and a cherub while he is being greeted by other cherubs represented by their heads and wings. The Philatelic and Numismatic office of the Vatican issued, in the series of Saints, an Aerogramme in 1998 with the reproduction of part of this painting. .....Picture on Left.
|Giovanni Battista Piazzetta
"Guardian Angel with St.Anthony of Padova and San Gaetano of Thiene"
The church of San Vitale, was rebuilt around 1700. The Piazzetta canvas was painted c.1727-30 as part of a group of altarpieces commissioned from several artists, including Sebastiano Ricci. It is a striking example of the chiaroscuro style which distinguishes Piazzetta's work from that of his younger contemporary G.B.Tiepolo. The restoration was made possible by a generous donation from the Charlotte Bonham Carter Charitable Trust and was completed in time for the painting's inclusion in the "Glory of Venice" exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, in 1994. The painting currently hangs in the church of San Samuele. Picture on Right.....
The Vision of San Gaetano Thiene 1775
Pen and brown ink, brown wash over black chalk 270 x 208 mm. Prints of this are on sale over the internet. This must have been the sketch preparation drawing or Bozzetto for the one Gandolfi did in oils on canvas in 1775. The actual painting is 208 x 146 cm and is in the Pinacoteca Civica of the town of Cento in the province of Ferrara. Pictures of Bozzetto and Painting Below.
Painter from Calabria Italy who died in Malta in 1699 and who is said to be second only to the great Caravaggio.
Madonna di Loreto with San Gaetano and San Francesco di Paola.
This painting was transfered, together with other Mattia Preti works, from other churches and convents ruined by earthquakes. It can nowadays be seen in the church of Santa Barbara in Taverna. Painting on Right.....
|Attributed to Giovanni Lanfranco
"The Virgin Hands the Child to San Gaetano of Thiene" c. 1620-30
This oil on canvas which can be found at the Vatican Pinacoteca, is believed to have been commissioned by the Theatine Fathers on the occasion of the Beatification of their founder in 1629.¬Ý This depiction of his vision reflects the founding moment of the Theatines and their spirituality. In the upper right corner angels are holding an open book bearing the Theatine motto, Quaerite Primum Regnum Dei. With Mary and Baby Jesus, and Gaetano dressed in a cassock, there is another figure which could be either Saint Jerome (mentioned in the letter about the vision) or another Theatine Saint, Andrea Avellino.
|Carl Rosa. (? - 1678)
Two different churches but two paintings of San Gaetano in very similar style unmistakably by one artist.
|Bari - Giovinazzo: Carmelite church: Oil on canvas, 250x160 cm representing San Gaetano in a field of lilies, roses and birds, holding a pen and writing on a book held by a cherub. He is looking at a scroll with writing on it from Matt.6:25-34, held up by two little cherubs. Picture on Right.....|
|Matera - Duomo: Signed and dated 1652. Note the similarities: Same two cherubs with same scroll and writing. Gaetano again writing on a book this time held by an angel. His forehead, nose and eyes are uncannily the same in both pictures. .....Picture on Left.|
San Gaetano Thiene
Painted between 1721 and 1725, this oil on canvas is 66 X 49.5cm and can be seen in Venice in the Museo del settecento Veneziano within the Martini collection. Picture Right.....
1. San Cayetano (1771-1772).
This well known Spanish painter worked up to his early eighties, so it is not surprising that we can find not one but two 'San Cayetanos' from his hand. He was at one time a follower of Tiepolo.
This painting we can find in the Zaragoza museum in Spain and was originally painted by Goya in his youth in oils on a wall, but was later transferred to canvas. The size is 37 x 30 cm. Please note that the Saint here is surely shown in the last part of his life because he is depicted leaning to one side showing that his leg is not supporting him enough. This is recorded as real fact in other sources. Picture on Right.....
|2. San Cayetano (1775-1780).
Another painting of the Saint, this one done by a more mature Goya. It is 52 x 40 cm. in oils on canvas and must have been commissioned by the Theatine order because there is a scroll under a book on the lower right hand corner on which is written in Spanish: San Cayetano. Founder. This painting is nowadays in a private collection. .....Picture on Left.
'The Apotheosis of San Gaetano' which one can see in the Venice church of San Andrea Avellino, on the ceiling above the main altar. Picture Near Right......
Copies of this work are available for sale over the internet. Picture far right......
|Croatia - Kostajnica
An 18th century painting of Sveti Kajetan by an unknown author. Picture Left......
Size: 34 X 25cm. Done in tempera and Zlatovez. (Zlatovez is traditional Slavonian embroidery done in golden thread.)
|In the new world
Old 18th and 19th century paintings especially on wood or copper, called retablos abound. There are even tapestries of the Saint. Many all be it copies, are nowadays sold to tourists or over the internet. In many, San Cayetano is shown alone but sometimes he is in the company of other Saints. See pictures Below......
|Genoa - 'Babuino' Auction House
Among the antique furnishings of a Venetian villa in 2008 were four oil paintings on canvas by the Venetian painter Francesco Migliori, Delia done during his later years. Each of the four depicted Saints played an important role in relation to the Catholic reformation. The image of San Gaetano Thiene shows him receiving a crown of roses from an angel.
"The Lactation of San Cayetano."
Painted by the 18th century Mexican painter, the painting suggests that the academic Baroque had flowered fully in the New World. We see Mary giving her milk to the swooning saint: the utter physicality of the Divine is never in question, whether it is in academic painting or popular modes of expression nowadays called 'Folk art'.
|Ramon Jose Lopez
New Mexico: Brain-tanned buffalo hide painting with natural pigments and sewn on sinew, 102" x 83", 2001. On permanent loan to El Convento at La Plaza De Espanola.
In the 'Museu Nacional de Belas Artes' (Museum of fine arts) of Rio de Janeiro, there is a beautiful Sao Caetano with three symbols: A crucifix (love of Christ), a Bible (his preaching vocation) and a cane of lilies (indicating his purity). Picture on Right.....
|The painting of Heilige Kajetan on the Left is from an old German manuscript with wording in Latin
The one on the Right with our Saint holding Baby Jesus is a modern Eastern style Icon painted on wood. The letters are made to imitate Kiryllic Script.
|From an Australian painter:
1936 drypoint rendition of: Carmelite convent of San Gaetano, Cordova showing people and donkeys outside the walls of the convent in Spain. Picture Left.
|Patron Saint of GAMBLERS!
It is awful to find out how certain groups distort religious views. In South America some treat San Cayetano as the patron saint of gamblers and try to make money off him accordingly by selling items such as the money clip on the right bearing his image and name! I am just including this item as a piece of artwork. Picture Right......
Again in South America actually in Avellaneda in the province of Santa Fe, one can get tattooed with any design. The one on the Right shows that type of 'Art' with the image of our Saint on the shoulder of an individual. This extreme use of San Cayetano's semblance is surely not devotion! Picture Right......
|An old Holy Picture:
Issued from the Church of San Paolo Maggiore in Napoli. In the Crypt of this Church (which is a church in itself, dedicated to San Gaetano), lie the remains of our Saint.
|An old book:
'Historical notes on the life of San Gaetano' written by Francesco Grimaldi and published in Napoli in 1856. (For sale over the Internet) Picture Right......
Semi circular stained glass depicting San Gaetano holding Jesus, and an angel. This piece of art was on sale over the internet.
|Malta - Hamrun.
In the Spanish Theatine publication Mundo Teatino of the 7th June 2007, there is an article about the Canonization of the first Maltese Saint, Gorg Preca, a priest from Hamrun Malta.
There is also a picture of a painting by Paul Camilleri-Cauchi, commissioned by Gaetano Bugeja of Hamrun, depicting his son being consecrated to Mary and Jesus by St.Gorg Preca during his First Holy Communion.
On the other end of the painting is San Gaetano whom St.Gorg loved to imitate. San Gaetano is shown kneeling in front of Mary and Jesus and in the background one can also see a rendition of the Parish Church dedicated to him of Hamrun. A large canvas copy of this painting is hung on the balcony of the St Cajetan Band Club on the feast of St Gorg Preca. Picture Right.
|Blessed John Marinoni was San Gaetano's close friend and one of the founders of the Theatines:
He is depicted on the Right on a small painting done in the 17th century, in the Church of San Gaetano in Padova. Between 1662 and 1762 this Church was deconsecrated but Pope Clement XIII reconsecrated it.
|Items on sale on E-Bay:
Over time people sell of items of art connected to San Gaetano on E-Bay. Here is a selection:
Even though this 1700's item is a holy relic in itself, the seller is disposing of it as a work of art and describes it as:The interior decoration is made up of beautiful and accurate lines of silver and gold paper surrounding and housing the holy relics with the inscription in Latin: "S. Conf Caietani Tianensis" On the back, a wax seal ensures the integrity of the relic. The silk threads that seal the shrine are intact. Size of casket excluding hook: 40 x 33 mm
Rare original antique engraving with a beautiful depiction in which the Child Jesus in the arms of Our Lady offers bread to San Gaetano; Work dating from the mid-800, printed in Rome.
Another Etching of San Gaetano holding Baby Jesus.
Picture Far Right......
This is a fairly modern piece of stained glass showing our Saint.
|Statues & Other|
|San Gaetano is also represented in statues large and small all over the world. Life size statues of the Saint standing by himself or many times with the child Jesus in his arms exist in most of the parishes where he is Patron. These statues are taken in procession around the streets of the town or village concerned. Sometimes Gaetano is also accompanied by the Virgin Mary handing him the Holy Babe.|
Rome Italy Basilica of Sta. Maria Maggiore:
White marble statue of San Gaetano holding the Child Jesus, in a niche in the crypt beneath the Blessed Sacrament Chapel. This statue is sited close to where his vision actually took place. (In a letter the saint wrote to a nun at Brescia, he explained that when he was once lost in prayer at this spot, the Holy Child climbed into his arms). Above the statue, also in marble, is an inscription in Latin installed during the reign of Pope Innocent XII. Pictures Below.
|Latin inscription above niche.|
Basilica of St Peter:
Massive statue of St Cajetan in a niche Picture on Right, in one of the four columns supporting the Dome. As you reach the altar: Near right facing altar about 4 metres up.
|Spain - Catalunya - Barcelona:
Sant Gaieta: Statue by Andreu Sala (late 17th century) at the Real academy of Fine Arts in the Museu Provincial d'Antiguitats de Barcelona. .....Picture on Left.
|Czech Republic - Prague:
On Charles bridge, the most celebrated structure in Prague: One of 22 statues: St.Kajetan stands here in front of a column of cherubs while holding a sacred heart. Behind the statue, a triangle symbolizes the Holy Trinity. The statues were put on the bridge in the period 1707-14. The Jesuits who masterminded the plan for the decoration of the bridge, thought that saints linked to the national traditions or to the Counter Reformation period, were more suited to their efforts to re-catholicize Bohemia, than the twelve Apostles. Picture on Right.....
|Germany - Dresden
Ignaz Guenther (1725 - 1775)
A 30.5cm high statue of Heiliger Kajetan. This statue is a Bozzetto or model for a larger one on the front of the Theatinekirche in Munich done in 1766. This gray burnt clay statue is in the Bavarian Rococo style and represents great expression of movement. Picture on Left.
The hands are clutching a cross while behind his feet is an open book showing the motto: Quaerite primum regnum Dei.
|In the New world:
Statues of San Cayetano are more common here, and some date back even a century or more. Most of the time these statues are of the 'Folk art' style and many were used in households for devotion. Of course, nowadays as from the last century, as everywhere else, each small parish of San Cayetano has its own statue which is taken out in procession on the Saint's feast day.
|Brasil - Minas Gerais - Belo Horizonte.
Museo de Ouro
An 18th century multicoloured and gilt statue of Sao Caetano in wood, size 60x30x31cm, by an unknown craftsman. Picture on Right.....
|In Brasil as in other South American countries, the government is trying to curb the tide of illegal exportation of local art. This statue of Sao Caetano from the 19th century by an unknown sculptor, was seized at the customs. It is wooden, painted in various colours and gilded. The size is 41x16cm. .....Picture on Left.|
Tumacacori Mission (San Cayetano de Calabazas)
A good example of local folk art, this statue of San Cayetano is shown kneeling, with arms out and lowered, looking upward and dressed in the black habit of the Theatine Order. This is a roughly carved figure with fine head and hands and covered with gesso-stiffened and painted cloth tied with rope of a local sisal agave. The joints are held by hand-wrought nails, some covered with plaster. The lower right leg is missing. The torso and upper right leg are one piece.There is a peg through each palm that appears slanted into the wrist. The statue features a low relief beard and mustache and painted hair. The gessoed fabric is more evenly spun than samples from other figures in the mission. Picture on Right.....
|For sale over the Internet:
Here the devotion for San Cayetano is still flourishing and so is the art of making religious statues. The figures on the Right are in production for sale by the company called Los Artesanos. San Cayetano is manufactured in four different styles.
|Also from South America comes this wood carving of San Cayetano for sale on E-bay.|
|Some of the best made statues including those of the Saint, are made in Spain, though one can find cheaper Spanish craft.|
|More expensive and well made on Left
Cheaper on Right.
Well made Spanish statues of San Gejtanu are usually on sale in shops especially in Hamrun around the time of the feast of the Saint.
Picture on Right.....
Hobby club in Hamrun whose members are interested in making Models of churches, statues and paraphernalia connected to the church. Various sizes of San Gejtanu statues. Picture on Right.....
|From the same Hobby club in Hamrun comes this model of the San Gejtanu Parish Church of Hamrun made out of thousands of Matchsticks.
.....Picture on Left.
|Pendants and Medallions with San Cayetano's figure are being sold on the internet. They come in various makes, materials and sizes. The 3 small devotional ones below are in Gold and other precious metals.|