Francesco Capella called Daggiù o Dagiù - inv. 4576
The painting shows Saint Luigi Gonzaga (1568–1591), the patron saint of youth. Directed towards a diplomatic career, typical vocation of the Gonzaga family, he preferred entering the Company of Jesus; there he distinguished himself in caring for victims of the plague, but was struck by the same disease and died at just twenty-one.
The canvas shows the young man in adoration before a crucifix. The same subject, with the same composition and executed in a similar pictorial technique can be found in a painting in the church of San Matteo, in Piazza Brembana (district of Moio de’ Calvi), in the Bergamo area. Here, however, compared to our painting, the saint has been portrayed in profile.
The work is by Francesco Capella, Venetian by origin, who was active for many years in the churches and noble houses of his adopted town of Bergamo, where he was favoured in particular by count Giacomo Carrara and the aristocratic Albani family. Dagiù’s pictorial freshness, deriving from his Venetian master Piazzetta, meant he was also much appreciated as a painter of frescoes of lay subjects in the wealthy town houses.