Oil on canvas, 165.7cm by 126.5cm.
Pope Gregory I (the Great), was known for his humble piety and love of writing.
Saraceni pictures the Saint turning to the Holy Spirit for guidance. The Spirit hovers over Gregory in the form of a Dove and inspires the Saint as he pens his account of Christ.
On the chalice is written “Aut Capio Aut Quiesco”, the motto of the Soranzo, the patrician Venetian family to which the painting originally belonged.
It was acquired by Brownlow, 9th Earl of Exeter (1725-1793), as by Andrea Sacchi.