New Rochelle Parish Welcomes Back Renowned Dandini Painting 


Cardinal Dolan offered the 5 p.m. Vigil Mass on Jan. 1 at Holy Family Church in New Rochelle, where he blessed a special painting. As reported in CNY’s Oct. 7, 2021 issue, the parish learned a familiar painting over the transept doorway of its church is a 17th-century masterpiece. “Holy Family with the Infant St. John,” a Florentine Baroque by Cesare Dandini, was installed in the 1960s at the church. The 46-inch-by-57-inch, oil-on-canvas painting includes Mary, Joseph and the infants Jesus and John the Baptist. After being on loan to Iona College in New Rochelle since last September, the painting returned to the parish on the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Joseph and Mary, Dec. 26. The Mass Jan. 1 was to welcome it back. Early in 2020, a professor of fine art and art history at Iona College, made several private visits to the church, sitting in a rear pew. On his fourth trip, when the church lights were glowing, Thomas Ruggio saw the Dandini high on a wall over the transept exit. He recognized the painting as an Italian Baroque and took photos with his mobile phone, which he later shared with colleagues in Italy. The painting was positively identified as one of four similarly themed works by Dandini, likely created in the 1630s. Msgr. Dennis Keane, pastor of Holy Family, told Catholic News Service the painting was acquired in Rome by a predecessor of his, Msgr. Charles Fitzgerald, in the mid-1960s.