This is an early work by Vicente López which Diez (see Literature) dates circa 1791-2. It records the celebrated fresco by Luca Giordano for the ceiling of the principal staircase of the Monastery of the Escorial, painted during the artist's sojourn in Spain from 1695-1704, where he worked at the court of Charles II. The unusual iconography represents the Adoration of the Trinity and on the right of the scene the Spanish monarchs Charles V and Philip II are shown offering their symbols of Imperial power to the Trinity.
The present work belongs to López's formative years (his earliest paintings date from around 1788) at a time when he specialised chiefly in religious painting and before he became established as one of the leading portrait painters of his day (see lot 358). In keeping with many Spanish painters of the 18th century, López was deeply influenced by the legacy left by Luca Giordano, whose work he would admire and emulate throughout his career. The signficance and high regard in which the artist himself held the present work is attested to by evidence that he owned the painting right up until his death in 1850, when it was bequeathed in his will to his pupil Nicolás Gato de Lema (whose portrait by López is now in the Museo Lázaro Galdiano, Madrid, see op. cit., p.768, cat. no. P-581, reproduced).
The attributional history of this painting has been an interesting one. When it first appeared on the international market in 1972 it was widely considered a modello (or perhaps ricordo) by Luca Giordano for his final work, and it was noted at the time to have been formerly in the Royal Spanish Collection. In 1992 the painting was included in the monograph on the neapolitan master by Ferrari and Scavizzi (see Literature), underlining the exceptional quality of the work as well as López's similar handling and technique to Giordano. It has only been more recently that the painting has been rightfully restored to the oeuvre of Vicente López.
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