Collection: St. Filippo Benizi
ARTIST: Museum Religious Art Classics
Artist: Girolamo Romanino – c. 1524
This artwork is one of the panels of the high altarpiece of the church of S. Alessandro, Brescia. It shows St. Filippo Benizzi, who was the fifth general of the Servites, the order to whom the church belonged.
St. Filippo was born in Florence, Italy, to a noble family and educated in Paris and Padua where he earned a doctorate in medicine and philosophy. He practiced medicine for some time, but in 1253 he joined the Servite Order in Florence. He served as a lay brother until 1259, when his superiors directed him to be ordained. Philip soon became known as one of the foremost preachers of his era, becoming master of novices at Siena in 1262 and then superior of several friaries and prior general of the Servites against his own wishes in 1267. Reforming the order with zeal and patience, he was named as a possible candidate to become pope by the influential Cardinal Ottobuoni just before the election to choose a successor to Pope Clement IV. He retired to a small Servite house in Todi, where he died on August 22. He was canonized in 1671.
Feast Day is August 23.