St. Dominic and the Devil

Creation date
oil on canvas
27-1/16 x 40-1/8 in.
Credit line
James E. Roberts Fund
Accession number
Currently On View

The story of the Devil's appearance to St. Dominic in the form of a monkey derives from a medieval legend, according to which the saint seized his tormentor and forced him to hold a lighted candle while he studied. St. Dominic released him only after the candle burned down and singed his fingers.

This candle-illuminated scene is inspired by a famous lost masterpiece of antiquity. Antiphilus of Alexandria's Boy Blowing on a Fire was renowned for its beautifully rendered effects of firelight.  Pietro della Vecchia's painting makes deliberate reference to it and to his own celebrated ability to imitate earlier masters.

Provenance Research is on-going at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, and information will be added to this record as research is completed. Please contact Annette Schlagenhauff, Assoc. Curator of Research, at with any questions.
Reproduction of these images, including downloading, is prohibited without written authorization from VAGA.

350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 2820
New York, NY 10118
Tel: 212-736-6666
Fax: 212-736-6767