Bernardo Cavallino (Naples 1616-1656) Saint John the Evangelist unframed

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Lot 28
Bernardo Cavallino
(Naples 1616-1656)
Saint John the Evangelist unframed
Sold for £ 122,500 (US$ 162,298) inc. premium

Lot Details
Bernardo Cavallino (Naples 1616-1656)
Saint John the Evangelist
oil on canvas, octagonal
93.2 x 83.4cm (36 11/16 x 32 13/16in).
unframed

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    With Algranti, Milan, before 1984
    Sale, Sotheby's, New York, 27 January 2005, lot 151

    Literature
    A. Percy, in Bernardo Cavallino of Naples 1616-1656, exh. cat., Cleveland, 1984, p. 110, under cat. nos. 30 and 31, ill., p. 112, fig. 30-31d (as 'Cavallino(?)')
    N. Spinosa, La Pittura napoletano del '600, , Naples, 1984, ill., no. 120
    N. Spinosa, Grazia e tenerezza 'in posa' Bernardo Cavallino e il suo tempo 1616-1656, Rome, 2013, pp.322-3, cat. no. 58.2., ill

    Only tentatively given to Cavallino in the exhibition catalogue of 1984 (see Percy and Spinosa, under Literature), the present work was securely attributed to the Neapolitan painter when it came on the market in 2005, at which point Prof. Nicola Spinosa was able to inspect the painting firsthand. He has since published the work in his monograph on the artist and grouped it alongside other octagonal paintings, of similar dimensions, depicting Saint Andrew, Saint Bartholomew and Saint Judas Thaddeus (?), which most probably formed a series. One further work which may also be added to the series is the Saint Simon, from the Manuli Collection, Milan (see Spinosa, 2013, cat. no. 60), which, whilst presently an oval, could possibly have been altered from its original octagonal format. This group all relate closely to a pair of paintings of Saint Peter and Saint Paul (private collection, France), also octagonal in shape but of larger dimensions, which are significant for the fact that they are the earliest known signed works by Cavallino (ibid pp. 296-7, cat. 30 and 30.1, fig. 59 and 60).

    In his entry for the series of apostles, Spinosa suggests a dating of circa 1645. He notes that whilst these works all retain the intense chiaroscuro of Cavallino's earlier paintings, the sharper, more refined treatment of the drapery points to a date later than the Saint Peter and Saint Paul. The influence of Jusepe de Ribera's work in the present painting, and its companions, is undeniable. Cavallino would certainly have been very familiar with Ribera's series of prophets for the Certosa di San Martino, Naples, completed in 1643. The younger artist has, however, taken Ribera's model of a robust, naturalistically observed, single figure dramatically illuminated, and combined it with his softer, more refined technique lending his figures a more contemplative air.
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