The Raising of Lazarus
Old painting sees new light of day
This work of Tintoretto (1518-1594), one of the great painters of Renaissance Italy, has now itself been raised, if not from the dead, at least from obscurity. For years The Raising of Lazarus hung in the Jesuit Center for Spiritual Growth at Wernersville, Pennsylvania, and was thought to be an excellent copy of the artist's original.
New York millionaire Nicholas Frederic Brady bought the painting while in Rome in 1928. He most likely bought it specifically for the Jesuits at Wernersville, as he and his wife Genevieve also made other contributions, including giving 100 acres to the Jesuits and building and furnishing the 150-room building that was originally a novitiate and house of study.
When Fr. J. A. Panuska, SJ, arrived as the new superior of the Jesuit Center in 1999, he decided to have a professional inventory of the 80 pieces of art that the Bradys donated over the years. The Tintoretto painting became the focus when Fr. Panuska examined the work's oldest documentation and discovered that the painting was actually attributed to Tintoretto. Inspection by Frank Ricci from the Reading Public Museum and then by Sarah Lidsey from Christie's of New York revealed that it was indeed done by the famous artist himself.
Care to guess the value? Estimates start at $400,000. The painting is on loan to the Reading Public Museum, and Fr. Panuska, who has been asked repeatedly if the Jesuits plan to sell the painting, says that the trust of the special gift must be kept.