Sale, Tours, Hotel des Ventes, 19 November 1953, lot 75 (according to the following inscription on the reverse: Vente a Tours, Hotel des ..ntes, 19 November 1953, no. 75).
The composition reflects a lost original by Ribera that formed part of the set of philosophers painted by the artist for Don Fernando Enrique Afan de Rivera, 3rd Duke of Alcala and Viceroy of Naples, in around 1629-31. A version given to Ribera in full was sold New York, Christie's, 6 April 2006, lot 69 and Spinosa lists a number of studio versions, although none of them appear to correspond to the present painting.1
1. See N. Spinosa, Ribera, Naples 2003, cat. no. B16.
The canvas has been relined and as a result the paint surface has been pressed. The paint surface appears to have been recently cleaned and revarnished, and is in good condition.
Inspection under ultraviolet light shows a thick milky and in places unevenly-applied varnish which makes older retouchings, visible to the naked eye as slightly discoloured pigments, very faint and therefore extremely difficult to detect. There are scattered small repairs to damages (all 1 x 1 cm.), and infilling of craquelure in the philosopher's face, in the white of the paper and to a lesser extent in his hands.
This lot is offered in a heavy carved gilt wood frame with black painted flat panels, some minor chips but otherwise in good condition. "In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."