La Verna: The Chapel of the Blessed Giovanni della Verna
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Jacopo Ligozzi
Italian, about 1607
Pen and brown ink and brown wash
15 3/8 x 9 7/8 in.

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Using expressive brown wash punctuated by the bare paper's brilliant white highlights, Jacopo Ligozzi captured one of Catholicism's holy miracles in this characteristically highly finished drawing. Here, Christ appears to Giovanni della Verna under an enormous beech tree at La Verna in the Apennine Mountains. In addition to portraying the tree and foliage in elaborate detail, Ligozzi included in the background the commemorative chapel built where the miracle occurred.

During the 1500s and 1600s, interest in travel and tourism burgeoned. Ligozzi traveled to the remote sanctuary of La Verna in 1607 to make preparatory drawings for twenty-five etched and engraved illustrations. These were published in Fra Lino's lavish guidebook on the region, Descrizione del Sacro Monte della Vernia, in 1612. Because La Verna was also where Saint Francis had received the stigmata in 1224, Ligozzi depicted numerous scenes of Saint Francis's life, along with the later miracles. His series included the site's rugged topography and the church, chapels, and monastic buildings erected there from the 1200s to the 1500s.