Continental European before 1800 19 What more could be established about this painting?

HMPS_SCAG_178_1975
Topic: Artist

Is anything more known about this painting? It was bequeathed by the 7th Duke of Wellington through The Art Fund in 1975, see https://bit.ly/39t3gya.

Edward Stone, Entry reviewed by Art UK

19 comments

Jacinto Regalado,

Looks late Baroque, late 17th to early 18th century., though I am not sure about German School, though it may have a German provenance. Is anything more known about the provenance?

Martin Hopkinson,

There may be a larger related altarpiece still in place in its original site

Jacinto, I've just let the Collection know that this and two other Southampton public discussions have gone live now; and I asked that question in passing. When I found the Art Fund page cited it did make me think something must be documented about the 7th Duke's Collection that could help. David

As Martin suggests, this is likely to be a modello for a large-scale altarpiece. I can see why it has been thought to be German and it might worth considering Franz Anton Maulbertsch (1724-1796), who was German-born and worked in the Austro-Hungarian Empire:

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Franz_Anton_Maulbertsch_-_The_Education_of_the_Virgin_-_WGA14682.jpg#/media/File:Franz_Anton_Maulbertsch_-_The_Education_of_the_Virgin_-_WGA14682.jpg

Marcie Doran,

Here is a work (c. 1720) on Wikimedia Commons by the Italian painter Francesco Solimena (1657 – 1747) that seems to include some similarities (faces, legs, wings and frantic activity). It might help to narrow down the nationality of the artist. https://tinyurl.com/vy3t6zyw. I have attached a composite.

1 attachment
Jacinto Regalado,

Attribution apart, the picture fits Solimena's period.

Tamsyn Taylor,

Both the Maulbertsch and the Solimena are characterised by a powerful use of light and shade, in particular having figures backlit or with shadow across their faces. This does not necessarily rule out those artists.

Andrew Shore,

I'm not sure about the German School attribution, but if it were not, could it be by someone like Benjamin West? There are a few similar works of his on Art UK:

https://artuk.org/discover/artworks/sketch-for-the-ascension-202821
https://artuk.org/discover/artworks/sketch-for-st-paul-shaking-off-the-viper-202822
https://artuk.org/discover/artworks/moses-receiving-the-law-on-mount-sinai-214293

Plus this one depicting inside the Temple: https://artuk.org/discover/artworks/christ-healing-the-sick-in-the-temple-5188

Martin Hopkinson,

There is a 2005 monograph on Maulbertsch 'Painterly equipment ..' University of North Carolina Press by Thomas da Costa Kauffmann
and a 1974 oeuvre catalogue by Klara Garas as well as several other publications in the British Library
The Barockmuseum in Salzburg had an exhibition of his oil skecthes in 1990

Martin Hopkinson,

an early Circumsion by him of 1758 in the Hungarian parish church of Su[umlaut]eg is not like this

Jacinto Regalado,

I do not think this is by West. His grouped figures are smaller and more crowded, and he did not work in a truly Baroque idiom. This work feels earlier.

In my opinion not by Maulbertsch, certainly not by Solimena, most certainly not by West. Maulbertsch is the closest of the three although not by him. I had the good fortune to see the Maulbertsch exhibition in Vienna in 1974 and, while this was a long time ago, it seems to me that Maulbertsch’s faces are flatter, his colours both hotter and softer and his figures more elongated and contorted than in our work.

But I regret that I cannot suggest an artist, while thinking that the German label may be appropriate. Date: c.1700-25 to hazard a guess.

Note that the top of the picture is cut off.

Jacinto Regalado,

We need to know from the collection if there is any relevant provenance information.

Jacinto Regalado,

If the current attribution is not based on provenance, what is the basis for it?

Jacinto Regalado,

I suppose the handling is not fluent enough to be Italian, though that also depends on the specific hand involved.

Andrew Shore,

Perhaps if the 'German' attribution is correct, we could look at works by other German (and Austrian) Rococo painters. There's a handy list of some of them on Wikimedia Commons:

German Rococo: https://bit.ly/3owSr6X

Austrian Rococo: https://bit.ly/3oAxat8

Some seem to focus more on portraits, so can perhaps be discounted, but there are plenty of altarpieces and ceiling decorations in a similar style.

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