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THE ALMS OF ST. ROCK.
St. Rock was the son of a private gentleman of Languedoc , and was born at Montpellier, about the year 1295. He was educated piously at home, and lost his father and mother before he had reached his twentieth year, thus finding himself master of a rich inheritance. But fearing lest the use of riches should interfere with his salvation, he distributed amongst the poor all he could immediately derive from his estates, and then , left the management of the residue to his uncle. Afterwards , secretly leaving his native country, he directed bis way to Rome, crossing the whole of Italy dressed in a pilgrim's garb.
Annibale Caracci being commissioned to execute a picture for the Friars of St. Rock, in the town of Reggio , has made choice of the moment when St. Rock , wishing to follow the precepts of the Gospel , distributes all his wealth to the
poor. It is the masterpiece of the painter: in this vast and magnificent composition, the correctness of the expressions, and the purity of the drawing, are equally admirable. It is one of the grandest pictures of the Dresden Gallery, and nearly came to adorn the French Museum , as the Superintendant Fouquet had offered a high price for it : and it would have been sent to him if the Duke of Modena informed of the bargain , had not hastened to break it off by purchasing it himself for his own Gallery, the whole of which was afterwards bought by the Elector of Saxony, Frederic-Augustus II, King of Poland.
Guido Reni did a small copy of this picture : he also etched an engraving from it with alterations. Giuseppe Camerata has given an exact engraving from it and in good style. Width 18 feet 2 inches ; height 11 feet 9 inches.
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