While heavily influenced by Luca Giordano, this sketch also displays the close relation of Conca’s working technique with that of his contemporary Corrado Giaquinto. Despite the similarities, however, Giaquinto’s diaphanous coloration and transparent draperies contrast with Conca’s rich modeling and dynamic forms.1 Conca’s palette is muted and he instead employs light and modeling to create a rich surface. The undulating folds of drapery and twisting poses in this painting create an illusion of vitality and motion, a feat that was not always realized in Conca’s finished large-scale frescoes.2 Sestieri dates this canvas between 1730 and 1735, citing its affinity with other sketches by the artist, his Triumph of the Church, in the Museo Duca di Martina, Naples, his Assumption of the Virgin in the Galleria Nazionale di Capodimonte, Naples and his Allegory, formerly in the Schaffer collection, New York.3 Each of these bozzetti can be dated stylistically to within a decade of the present painting. Like this sketch, the eventual locations for their finished iterations has yet to be determined, but in themselves these bozzetti provide a fascinating and detailed insight into the artist’s preparatory methods.
1. G. Sestieri, under Literature.
3. Ibid., pp. 190-191, 194-197, cat. nos. 53, 55, 56, reproduced pp. 191, 195, 197.
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