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Adoration of the Shepherds, Follower of Sebastiano Conca, 18th century
Adoration of the Shepherds, Follower of Sebastiano Conca, 18th century - Paintings & Drawings Style Adoration of the Shepherds, Follower of Sebastiano Conca, 18th century - Adoration of the Shepherds, Follower of Sebastiano Conca, 18th century - Antiquités - Adoration of the Shepherds, Follower of Sebastiano Conca, 18th century
Ref : 102160
6 500 €
Period :
18th century
Provenance :
Medium :
Oil on canvas
Dimensions :
l. 30.71 inch X H. 35.83 inch X P. 1.57 inch
Paintings & Drawings  - Adoration of the Shepherds, Follower of Sebastiano Conca, 18th century 18th century - Adoration of the Shepherds, Follower of Sebastiano Conca, 18th century  - Adoration of the Shepherds, Follower of Sebastiano Conca, 18th century
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Adoration of the Shepherds, Follower of Sebastiano Conca, 18th century

Follower of Sebastiano Conca, first half of the 18th century
Adoration of the Shepherds
Oil on canvas, frame cm W 78 x H 91 x D 4, canvas cm W 63 x H 77

The valuable painting, made in oil on canvas around the middle of the 18th century, depicts the Adoration of the Shepherds. The Child, placed at the center of the composition, radiates its own light to spread it on the Virgin, on the bystanders, on the little angels and tripping cherubs in heaven. The Virgin shows with a delicate gesture the Child to the shepherds who, surrounded by him, are kneeling in adoration. The evocative night setting gives a strong sense of scenography to the whole. The hut, a few steps of a building, the wooden crib covered with straw and the rest of the characters are in half-light; the divine light represented by the Child himself reverberates on them, effectively illustrating the Gospel statement (John 8,12) "I am the light of the world; whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life". Joseph is depicted behind the Virgin, also in half-light and in a discreet attitude, respecting what was her role in the sacred scriptures.
The work was made by an artist active in Naples, Italy, in the mid-eighteenth century and the composition is inspired by a canvas by Sebastiano Conca (1680 -1764) or, as was most commonly the case at the time, an engraving taken from the famous composition of Conca by Johann Jakob Frey I (1681-1752), dedicated to Cardinal Ottoboni, a great artistic patron. The painting of the Conca was also painted for Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni around 1710 and is now in the Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. Sebastiano Conca was born in Gaeta on 8 January 1680. Around 1690 he went to Naples and began to study and work in the workshop of Solimena; already in 1706 or 1707 he moved to Rome, but few of his works, influenced by the painting of Carlo Maratta (Camerano, 15 May 1625 - Rome, 15 December 1713), can be dated with certainty before 1720. Artistic recognition soon arrived: after 1710 many of Conca’s compositions were engraved, particularly by Johann Jakob Frey; in 1714 he was admitted to the Congregation of Virtuosi in the Pantheon and in 1718 he was elected academician of St. Luke. From about 1720 his fame was established. Requests for works from all over Italy began to arrive. Through Juvarra he obtained commissions for the Piedmontese royalty: for the Venaria Reale, for Superga and for the royal palace of Turin, for the oratory of S. Filippo in the church of the same name, for the church of S. Teresa. Cardinal Acquaviva, ambassador of Spain, procured him the important commission of the ceiling for S. Cecilia in Trastevere in 1721; the cartoons were sent to the Queen of Spain, and the model to the Duke of Parma. The painter was even granted an apartment in the Palazzo Farnese, where he moved the studio in 1725 and established the school he had opened. Sebastiano Conca received the protection of Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni for whom he carried out many commissions and who awarded him the title of Knight of the Speron d'oro in 1729. He was favoured by Benedict XIII Orsini for the duration of his pontificate and was repeatedly appointed prince of the Academy of St. Luke. From these years he received prestigious and numerous commissions for Rome, in Tuscany, again in Turin. Conca was able to continue and update the tradition of the monumental decoration of Maratta, with a tendency to transform and update baroque classicism in a rococo style, with many shades, adaptable to various genres and formats, open to the most varied destinations and needs of time commissions. He was an eclectic mediator of the various components matured during the seventeenth century: that scenography, magniloquent and grandiose, of Jordanian heritage, learned in the years of study and collaboration with the Solimena, and that more measurably composed of the reformist classicism of the Maratta, which he could access more directly when he moved to Rome. His easel works were also very successful. Many of his works are already documented, in 1742 by De Dominici, in the galleries of many Roman patricians; other works reached Palermo and Messina, Genoa and Turin, Loreto and Gaeta and others were sent abroad, in England, Spain and Portugal, Austria and Germany and Poland, all the way to America. Conca returned to Gaeta around 1752, where he worked for Naples and Caserta.
The author of the canvas in question demonstrates a sure knowledge of the Adoration of the Shepherds by Sebastiano Conca for Pietro Ottoboni, a work that met with great success and was replicated and copied several times. Likewise Frey’s engraving had extraordinary diffusion and circulation, this testified by the presence of several works inspired to it also with substantial variations. These include the Adoration of the Shepherds by Vittorio Amedeo Rapous (1729-1819), a painter active in Piedmont and a pupil of Claudio Francesco Beaumont. The work, preserved at the Alpine Civic Museum "Arnaldo Tazzetti" of Usseglio (TO), was commissioned by Abbot Giovanni Pietro Costa by 1760, the year in which the abbot dies. The work in question turns out to be the reworking of an iconographic system that was very successful in the eighteenth century and that, thanks to the considerable diffusion of Frey’s engraving, was much sought after and commissioned by the European client of the time. However, the painter did not renounce to insert some variants and among these, the most significant is the variation of the setting in the shepherds placed in the background to the right of the composition. In Frey’s engraving, and in the canvas of the Laver, we see a shepherd, holding a trumpet, pointing at the Child, turning after him with a twist. In our canvas, the author modifies this setting, inserting two shepherds, one young and one older, prosthetic towards the Saviour in supreme adoration. These variants may have been requested by the same client or the author of the work wanted to make his own iconographic contribution as a signature of the work.

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Brozzetti Antichità


18th Century Oil Painting