7 June 2002
Attributed to Francesco Fracanzano (Monopoli 1612-1656? Naples)
Diogenes holding a lamp
oil on canvas
47¾ x 38 in. (121.3 x 96.5 cm.)
The Rt. Hon. Lord Harlech, K.G. G.C.M.C., Brogyntyn, Oswestry, Shropshire; Sotheby's, London, 1 February 1936, lot 38, as 'J. Ribera' (65 gns. to Sternberg).
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London, The Arts Council of Great Britain, Some Masterpieces from Welsh Houses, 1946, no.3, as attributed to Ribera (lent by Lord Harlech).
The attribution to Francesco Fracanzano was suggested by Rudolph Wittkower in 1957 (according to a label on the reverse).
Diogenes of Sinope was a cynic who lived in Athens and Corinth in the fourth century B.C.. The lamp he holds here is a symbol of his search for truth or virtue.
We are grateful to Prof. Riccardo Lattuada for suggesting that the present work may be fully attributed to Francesco Fracanzano on the basis of a transparency. Prof. Lattuada believes it to be an early work by the artist.
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