17th-Century painting discovered in New Rochelle church

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When Iona College professor Tom Ruggio went for some quiet prayer inside the Holy Family Church in New Rochelle, he couldn’t believe his eyes when he looked up.

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“I was able to see a painting on the middle wall of the upper right hand side and I was very surprised,” said Ruggio, who realized he was seeing a masterpiece.

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Professor Ruggio teaches art history at Iona, so it’s no surprise he has an eye for masterpieces, but the rarity of this painting was so impressive, he had to inquire.

After talking with fellow collaborators and even the Museum of Modern Art in Italy, he discovered that the painting was actually made by Cesare Dandini. Dandini is an Italian painter who creates this oil on canvas piece from the 17th century masterpiece titled “Holy Family with the Infant Saint John” that had never been discovered until now.

The Holy Family of Cesare Dandini with infant St. John is on loan for the next three months to the Ryan Library of Iona College. Students, teachers, and anyone outside Iona’s gates are welcome to come and see it, before returning to the church where it was rediscovered.

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