The drawing is linked to the painting in Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire, Viscount Scarsdale, The National Trust, inv. KED / P / 155 (Oil on canvas, 305 x 198 cm, FIG 01) made by Luti in Rome in 1692, exposed to the public at the feast of St. Bartholomew (August 24) and sent to Florence Giovan Niccolò Berzighelli at as a thank you for the support provided by the latter to the young painter, still twenty-six years old.
This course is documented by an exchange of letters with the master Anton Domenico Gabbiani in September and December of this year. The painting was successively exhibited at Santissima Annunziata in Florence in 1705, bought by Ignazio Hugford at the Berzighelli sale in the San Marco Casino, which was the Florentine home of the Pisan gentleman in September 1724.
Hugford, in the Vita di Anton Domenico Gabbiani Pittor Fiorentino (1762), speaks of this painting in extremely enthusiastic and non-disinterested terms recalling among other things the slight friction with Maratti at the time of the publication of the work for its remarkable quality and the appreciative judgment of Conca, who saw him in the Florentine house of the collector in 1732. Hugford again exhibited the work to Santissima Annunziata in 1729 with the "hanging" canvas depicting The Meal at the Pharisee (also at Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire, Viscount Scarsdale, The National Trust, inv. KED / P / 156) and informs us that the two paintings "Furono poi intagliati in Venezia da Giuseppe Wagner per suo negozio nel 1750. co 'disegni del Cipriani mio giovane, e dopo pochi anni, no solo i due quadri del Luti, my ancestor i detti rami passarono in Inghilterra ".
Research on the decoration and formation of the Kedleston Hall collection has clarified the date of the acquisition of The Curse of Cain by Sir Nathaniel Curzon in 1757 from the merchant William Kent. Once in Kedleston, the two paintings were arranged in James' "Athenian" Stuart's decoration project on the sides of a niche in the dining room, as evidenced by a watercolor by the architect preserved in Kedleston (Design for the decoration of the end of a room, 1757-1758, Pen and watercolor, Kedleston Hall, The Scarsdale Collection, KED / 1 / 10-1) but as a result of a change of scenery they were moved on two walls of the big living room where they are still today, according to the indications of Robert Adam, architect and decorator of Kedleston between 1758 and 1765.
The first to publish drawings related to the work was Francis H. Dowley (1962), who recognized a filiation with the master Gabbiani, and in particular with the altar painting depicting The Triumph of St. Francis de Sales made for the Florentine church of Santi Apostoli in 1685. There are at least three drawings related to this entire composition: a white blood on paper, mm 338 x 229, Providence / RI, Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Gift of Mrs . Gustav Radeke, 20.435 (FIG 02); one in the blood, watercolor and highlights of white, mm 502 x 330, passed at Piasa, Paris 23 Jan. 2001, No. 33 (FIG. and this sheet from the Old Master Drawings, Sotheby's Parke Bernet & Co., London, 11 June 1981, no. 19.
This drawing is interesting for two reasons: the first is the presence of a number of variations and repentances compared to the other two cities and the final table. The second is the fact that the back is uniformly prepared for blood transfusion, confirmed by numerous incisions revealed by a grazing light along the profiles and main lines to the black stone.
Regarding the first point, we notice the following differences with respect to the painting: the absence of an angel on the cloud at the top of the composition, the triangular halo of God the Father, the hairstyle of the latter , the repentance of the right leg of one of the group's angels on the upper left, the various modifications of the angel's wings in the center, the absence of the landscape and the sacrificial altar. All these variants, combined with the synthetic fluidity of the line, lead to consider the sheet as a preparatory autograph study.
Regarding the second point, the technical preparation for the transfer and the presence of incisions leave no doubt as to the use of this drawing for the realization of another more finite and more detailed to the blood than the it can not be identified with any of the two sheets cited because of different dimensions.
For the reasons given, this drawing is to be considered as the oldest testimony of the elaboration of the painting of Kedleston Hall. Although it is necessary to envisage the realization of studies of details (not arrived at but to connect to the abundant production "lutian" of academies of virile nudes of which the Gabinetto dei Dellegni e delle Stampe delle Gallerie degli Uffizi retains numerous examples) even in this drawing