Author: Pietro Liberi
Century: 17th century
Technique: Oil on canvas
Location: Central nave, seventh left arch (in the plan No. 19)
This was the first painting, in chronological order, of the rich series that decorates the central nave of the church and depicts the documented and legendary highlights of the history of the Carmelite Order. The canvas represents the most emblematic event: the delivery of the scapular to Simon Stock by the Virgin.
The scene is depicted in the traditional way: the Madonna descends from the sky accompanied by a host of angels, seraphim, and cherubim, and together with one of them, she hands the scapular to Simon Stock, the general prior of the Carmelite Order since 1245. Symbolically, a large tree trunk (hence the meaning of the English term “stock”) rises beside him, where Simon had lived while waiting for the Carmelites to also arrive in England. The composition of the painting is characterized by the movement of the characters, which emphasizes the extraordinary nature of the event: on the right, Stock turns his smiling face upwards, almost shouting in wonder; for greater dramatic effect, he raises his arms to the sky. The left side is occupied by the group of the Madonna; the scapular is held in the hand of the angel but will soon be handed over to Stock. The same angel, extending his arm, partially obscures the face of Mary. This solution does not seem accidental and perhaps corresponds to a request from the friars not to openly highlight the face of the Virgin out of respect for her sanctity.