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Raising of Lazarus

Turchi Alessandro called Orbetto

(Verona 1578 - Rome 1649)

In all likelihood, this painting was purchased directly by Scipione Borghese in 1617, when the cardinal signed several payments to Alessandro Turchi for works which these documents do not specify. Traditionally, however, critics believe that the paintings in question are this Raising of Lazarus, the Dead Christ with Mary Magdalene and Four Angels (inv. no. 499), and the Christ in the Sepulchre (inv. no. 307). All of these works have in fact been associated with the painter’s first years in Rome, where he worked on several decorative projects for the Borghese family, including the Quirinal Palace and the Casino del Barco in Villa Pinciana.

The work depicts the Biblical episode of the raising of Lazarus in the precise moment in which Christ, standing in front of Lazarus’s tomb, exclaims ‘Lazarus, come forth’ (John 11:43).

Object details

oil on slate
cm 36 x 27

19th-century frame decorated with four corner palmettes, 58.5 x 48 x 4.3 cm


(?) Rome, purchased by Scipione Borghese, 1617 (Della Pergola 1955); Rome, Borghese Collection, 1650 (Manilli 1650); Inv. 1790, room IV, no. 44; Inventario Fidecommissario, 1833, p. 23; purchased by Italian state, 1902.

  • 1959 Venezia, Ca' Pesaro;
  • 1974 Verona, Palazzo della Gran Guardia;
  • 1999 Verona, Museo di Castelvecchio;
  • 2001 Roma, Palazzo Venezia;
  • 2001 Londra, Royal Academy;
  • 2011 Illegio, Casa delle Esposizioni;
  • 2014 Venezia, Galleria dell'Accademia.
Conservation and Diagnostic
  • 1996-1997 Paola Tollo, Carlo Ceccotti.


This painting was first mentioned in connection with the Borghese Collection in 1650, when Iacomo Manilli described it as ‘the small work with Lazarus restored, painted on Lydian stone, by Alessandro Veronese’. Changed to Ludovico Carracci in the 1790 inventory and to Agostino Carracci in the Inventario Fidecommissario, this original attribution was justly revived by Adolfo Venturi (1893) and confirmed by both Roberto Longhi (1928) and Paola della Pergola (1955); the last-named critic dated the work to 1618. In her view, the painting in fact formed part of the group of works executed by Turchi for Scipione Borghese, who paid the artist for them in 1617. All subsequent critics have accepted this theory without reservations (see most recently Scaglietti Kelescian 2019).

According to Daniela Scaglietti Kelescian (1974), this work attests to the strong impression made by the Roman school of Caravaggio on the artist, an influence which in this case emerges forcefully, in part from the choice of the support material, namely very black, shiny slate. This medium suited Orbetto’s execution of the figures, in the context of experiments conducted in those years by Carlo Saraceni, Gerrit van Honthorst and numerous French painters active in Rome. Combining this experience with his training in the workshop of his master Felice Brusasorzi, Turchi produced a significant number of small-format compositions in the Eternal City, characterised by a ‘light’ and decorative interpretation of Caravaggio’s teachings. His style was much appreciated by his patrons, among whom the insatiable Scipione Borghese figured prominently.

Antonio Iommelli

  • I. Manilli, Villa Borghese fuori di Porta Pinciana, Roma 1650, p. 106;
  • G. Piancastelli, Catalogo dei quadri della Galleria Borghese, in Archivio Galleria Borghese, p. 181;
  • A. Venturi, Il Museo e la Galleria Borghese, Roma 1893, p. 220;
  • R. Longhi R., Galleria Borghese: il trio dei veronesi, in “Vita Artistica”, II, 1926, pp. 123-126;
  • R. Longhi, Precisioni nelle Gallerie Italiane, I, La R. Galleria Borghese, Roma 1928, pp. 67-70, 224;
  • C. Brandi, Disegno della pittura italiana, Torino 1930, pp. 491-492;
  • A. De Rinaldis, La Galleria Borghese in Roma, Roma 1939, p. 25;
  • P. della Pergola, La Galleria Borghese. I Dipinti, I, Roma 1955, p. 121, n. 218;
  • P. della Pergola, L’Inventario Borghese del 1693 (III), in “Arte Antica e Moderna”, XXX, 1965, p. 210;
  • C. Donzelli, G.M. Pilo, I pittori del Seicento veneto, Firenze 1967, p. 402;
  • A. Moir, The Italian followers of Caravaggio, II, Cambridge 1967, p. 112;
  • R. Longhi, Saggi e ricerche 1925-28. Precisioni nelle gallerie italiane. La Galleria Borghese, Firenze 1967, p. 355;
  • D. Scaglietti Kelescian, in Cinquant’anni di pittura veronese: 1580 – 1630, catalogo della mostra (Verona, Palazzo della Gran Guardia, 1974), a cura di L. Magagnato, Verona 1974, p. 119;
  • C. Faccioli, “L’Orbetto” pittore veronese a Roma, in “L’Urbe”, V, 1975, p. 16;
  • R. Pallucchini, La pittura veneziana del seicento, II, Milano 1981, pp. 114, 116;
  • P. Leone de Castris, R. Middione, La Quadreria dei Girolamini, Napoli 1986, p. 174;
  • F. Cappelletti, in Caravaggio e la collezione Mattei, catalogo della mostra (Roma, Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica, 1995), a cura di R. Vodret Adamo, Milano 1995, p. 158;
  • D. Scaglietti Kelescian, in Alessandro Turchi detto l’Orbetto 1578-1649, catalogo della mostra (Verona, Museo di Castelvecchio, 2009), a cura di D. Scaglietti Kelescian, Milano 1999, pp. 103-103;
  • C. Stefani, in P. Moreno, C. Stefani, Galleria Borghese, Milano 2000, p. 315;
  • F. Cappelletti, in Il genio di Roma, 1592-1623, catalogo della mostra (Londra, Royal Academy of Arts, 2001; Roma, Palazzo Venezia, 2001), a cura di B. L. Brown, Roma 2001, pp. 201-202;
  • E. Schleier, in Giovanni Lanfranco. Un pittore barocco tra Parma, Roma, Napoli, catalogo della mostra (Roma, Palazzo Venezia, 2001), a cura di E. Schleier, Milano 2001, p. 344;
  • C. Volpi, I segreti di un collezionista. Le straordinarie raccolte di Cassiano dal Pozzo 1588-1656, catalogo della mostra (Biella, Museo del territorio biellese, 2001), a cura di F. Solinas, Roma 2001, p. 180;
  • E. Fumagalli, Padre Cosimo Cappuccino a Roma, in Paolo Piazza. Pittore cappuccino nell’età della Controriforma tra conventi e corti d’Europa, a cura di S. MArinelli, A. Mazza, Verona 2002, p. 230;
  • K. Herrmann Fiore, Galleria Borghese Roma scopre un tesoro. Dalla pinacoteca ai depositi un museo che non ha più segreti, San Giuliano Milanese 2006, p.163;
  • H. Seifertovà, Malby na kameni-Painting on stone, Vydala Národní galerie, Praze 2007, pp. 78-91;
  • C. Volpi, Modelli estetici ed ispirazione poetica al tempo di Scipione Borghese: i casi di Ippolito Scarsella e di Alessandro Turchi, in I Barberini e la cultura europea del Seicento, atti del convegno (Roma, Palazzo Barberini, 2004), a cura di L. Mochi Onori, S. Schütze, F. Solinas, Roma 2007, p. 63;
  • V. Mancini, Echi caravaggeschi a Venezia e nella terraferma, in I Caravaggeschi: percorsi e protagonisti, a cura di C. Strinati, A. Zuccari, I, Milano 2010, pp. 161-162;
  • M.G. Aurigemma, Presenze dei veneti a Roma, 1590-1630, in Roma al tempo di Caravaggio. 1600-1630. Saggi, catalogo della mostra (Roma, Palazzo Venezia, 2011), a cura di R. Vodret, Ginevra-Milano 2012, p. 221;
  • D. Dossi, All’ombra di Scipione Borghese: Alessandro Turchi per Costanzo Patrizi e qualche altra precisazione, in "Arte Cristiana", CI, 2013, p. 461;
  • D. Scaglietti Kelescian (a cura di), Alessandro Turchi detto l’Orbetto 1578-1649, Verona 2019, pp. 143-144.