The Transfer to the Keys to Heaven (Matthew 16:19: Tibi dabo claves regni caelorum)

  • Luciano Borzone
  • Genua 1590–1645
  • Oil on Canvas
  • 35 1/2 x 31 1/2 in.

The Transfer to the Keys to Heaven, Luciano Borzone

Obtained by a private collector from the Ball State University Museum of Art as by Rubens, it was well preserved under old discolored varnish, now partially removed, and on an old secure lining. A distressed (and distressing) heavy plaster Victorian frame has been replaced by a replica of a Northern Italian ecclesiastic frame commensurate with the creation of the painting c. 1620.

Borzone was an early exponent of Caravaggio’s dramatic chiaroscuro and naturalist realism from their stylistic predecessors in Lombardy and the objective naturalism of features and expression as painted with bravura strokes of a laden brush in Venice. Already lauded by 1620 (Marini) and well documented and illustrated in major surveys of Ligurian painting since, the artist has most recently received thorough monographic treatment in a well documented study and catalogue raisonée by Anna Manzitti, Luciano Borzone 1590-1645, Genova (Genua), 2015. For utile comparisons cf. inter allia: Judith and the Head of Holofernes (fig.18; private collection); two versions Tobias Healing Tobit (figs. 19 & 20; both in private collections); and three images of St. Peter (figs. 21-23; all private collections in Genua). Like the present painting, these paintings show the same closely gathered groups of half-length figures, realistically expressive faces and simple garb painted the same palette and bravura brushwork characteristic of the amalgam of Lombardic and Venetian elements in the art of Caravaggio and his Genoese disciple Luciano Borzone.