• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7575

    Old Master and British Pictures

    25 April 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 45

    Sebastiano Conca (Gaeta 1680-1764 Naples)

    The Rest on the Flight to Egypt

    Price Realised  


    Sebastiano Conca (Gaeta 1680-1764 Naples)
    The Rest on the Flight to Egypt
    with signature '[I?]L Conca' (lower right)
    oil on canvas
    29 x 39¼ in. (73.5 x 99.7 cm.)
    in a carved and gilded Carlo Maratta frame

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    A beautiful example of Sebastiano Conca's early period, this painting belongs to the second decade of the eighteenth century. It thus follows by several years the artist's move to Rome in 1707 and his first private commissions, obtained from the cardinals Spada and Ottoboni, the most important of his patrons. Close in terms of its composition to other early works by the artist, such as the Adoration of the Magi formerly in the collection of the Rospigliosi princes, this picture displays in no uncertain terms the formal signs of Conca's Neapolitan education--especially in its intense chromatism and debt to Solimena --while at the same time acknowledging the changes taking place in the Eternal City with the precocious introduction of the barochetto style by Benedetto Luti and Giuseppe Chiari. The skilfully imagined landscape, resembles other paintings destined for private use--for example, the Samaritan Woman (private collection) formerly in the Camuccini collection, which, like this picture, shows an intimate and captivating interpretation of the Gospel story. It is precisely this engaging approach that would become the formula with which Conca gained the favour of the greatest collectors in Rome. The success of the composition is demonstrated by a version on copper, of smaller size, in a Bolognese private collection, exhibited in Gaeta in 1981 (Sebastiano Conca, 1680-1764, exhibition catalogue, Gaeta, 1981, pp. 100-101, no. 8).

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