Professor Giuseppe Scavizzi has seen the present, hitherto unpublished, picture and dates it c. 1675. He believes it is entirely by Giordano's hand with no studio participation and considers it a particularly fine example in an exceptional state of preservation. Indeed, the canvas has never been lined, a fact made all the more surprising by its size.
According to early twentieth-century documents in the possession of the owner, the present picture was accompanied, at least until 1920, by a Marriage Feast at Cana, also by Luca Giordano (see provenance). Scavizzi has noted the mention of two paintings of these subjects in the 1723 inventory of Giovanna Battista Pignatelli d'Aragona Cortes, Naples (O. Ferrari and G. Scavizzi, Luca Giordano, Naples, 1992, I, p. 398), but unless the dimensions given were very approximate (8 x 10 palmi, which equals about 192 x 250cm.) those paintings would have been too small to correspond with the present picture and its now lost companion.
A version, differing in many details, but of similar size (256 x 390cm.), is in the Alte Pinakothek, Munich, and is dated c. 1685 by Scavizzi and Ferrari (op. cit, I, p. 312, no. A368; II, fig. 476). Another treatment of the subject is in the Santa Marca Collection, Madrid (ibid., I, p. 310, no. A351; II fig. 459). Scavizzi regards the present picture as the earliest and best of the three variants.
We are grateful to Professor Scavizzi for his assistance in preparing this catalogue entry.