“Maria del Sochorso,” Lombard or Emilian School, oil on canvas, c. 1650-1730.
The “Maria del Sochorso,” (Madonna of Succor) is a North Italian devotional altarpiece whose design derives from a Post-Byzantine icon type. An icon which may have served as the model is the Cretan Virgin of the Passion brought to Rome in 1499 for the church of San Matteo in Merulana. This image performed miracles and became a cult object. During the Counter-Reformation it was not unusual to invoke the authority of a Byzantine icon in a Baroque-style altarpiece. A Milanese newspaper dated 1901 lines the canvas, suggesting that the painting is probably from Lombardy or Northern Italy.