Lot 188: MASSIMO STANZIONE ORTA DI ATELLA NEAR CASERTA (?) 1585 (?) - 1656 (?) NAPLES (?)
Old Master Paintings, Part Two
December 9, 2004
London, United Kingdom
brushed on the reverse with an old collector's mark: MB
oil on canvas, probably a modello
This painting closely relates to a fresco by Stanzione of the same subject on the underside of the entrance arch to the chapel of San Diego d'Alcalà (also known as the D'Aquino chapel), Cappellone di San Giacomo della Marca, in the church of Santa Maria la Nova in Naples (see S. Schütze and T. Willette, Massimo Stanzione, Naples 1992, p. 236, cat. no. A89.I, reproduced p. 374, fig. 313). Given that the composition is almost identical to that in the fresco, it is likely to be a modello (or presentation piece), or perhaps a ricordo after the fresco, rather than a bozzetto carried out in the preparatory stages of the design. The chapel, which was renovated by Tommaso d'Aquino (1601-1662), first duke of Casola, some time between 1634 and 1646, is frescoed with three scenes depicting miracles from the life of San Diego d'Alcalà. The episode of the Presentation of a sick man before the body of San Diego d'Alcalà is situated on the left side of the underarch in the chapel, with San Diego d'Alcalà kissing the feet of Christ in the centre and a much-damaged San Diego d'Alcalà liberating a possessed woman to the right of it (see Schütze & Willette, op. cit., cat. nos. A89.II and III, reproduced figs. 312 and 314). Stanzione's frescoes probably date from the first half of the 1640s, and a similar date might be presumed for the present canvas.
The attribution has kindly been endorsed by Professor Thomas Willette of the University of Michigan (written communication, 2 July 2003).
Dimensions: 65 by 50 cm.; 25 1/2 by 19 5/8 in.