Lot 10
  • 10

Giuseppe Zocchi

300,000 - 500,000 USD
Log in to view results
bidding is closed


  • Giuseppe Zocchi
  • Elegant Figures Seated in the Picture and Porcelain Cabinet of a Palace
  • oil on canvas
  • 20 1/4 x 32 1/2 inches


Anonymous sale, New York, Sotheby's, 16 May 1996, lot 70 (as Piedmontese School, 18th Century, reproduced on the cover);
There purchased by the present collector.


S. Bellesi, Catalogo dei Pittori Fiorentini del '600 e '700, Florence 2009, vol. I, p. 275, vol. II reproduced, fig. 1684.


The following condition report has been provided by Simon Parkes of Simon Parkes Art Conservation, Inc. 502 East 74th St. New York, NY 212-734-3920, simonparkes@msn.com , an independent restorer who is not an employee of Sotheby's. This painting was restored it appears approximately 30 years ago and it should be hung as is. The canvas is lined with what may perhaps be an older lining and the surface is stable. The paint layer is clean and varnished. No retouches are visible either to the naked eye or under ultraviolet light. While it is always possible that retouching is in evidence underneath this varnish, particularly around the edges where some loss and frame abrasion may have occurred, the bulk of the picture seems to be in very healthy condition. The areas that may have attracted retouches are the darker left and right sides. The painting should be hung as is.
"This lot is offered for sale subject to Sotheby's Conditions of Business, which are available on request and printed in Sotheby's sale catalogues. The independent reports contained in this document are provided for prospective bidders' information only and without warranty by Sotheby's or the Seller."

Catalogue Note

We are grateful to Dr. Laura Laureati for informing us that the present work has been recently published by Sandro Bellesi as a work of Giuseppe Zocchi (see Literature), an attribution which she endorses.  She further suggests that the interior depicted probably depicts a room in the Palazzo Rinuccini, Florence.  Zocchi was active as a frescoist in the Palazzo from the late 1750s until 1766, painting a series of mythological and classical scenes.

This painting probably depicts an actual room (which may or may not exist today in some form or another), as it is unlikely the artist would have created such an elaborate and specific interior from pure imagination.  The artist has set up his easel just outside the small room mounted with porcelains and paintings to record its newly completed decoration. The owners-complacent, self-satisfied and proud of their accomplishment - are presumably the couple seated on the sofa. Their lap terrier has been outfitted with a blue satin bow and has been posed in the center of the room; he seems to be distracted by the tricorn hat on the chair. Another gentleman, whose hat it must be, has taken a place in the far corner, his arm casually propped on a console. Is he, perhaps, the designer/architect/decorator? The three figures distracted by our presence are depicted in hermetic isolation, only a faint glimpse of a classical building outside of the window brings the existence of the real world to mind.

The key feature of the room is the many porcelains which are placed on mirrored corner shelves and on the ebony and walnut chest-of-drawers with elaborate gilt mounts. All of these porcelains are new, that is, they date to just before the painting was executed. One sees Chinese blue-and white from the Qing dynasty (1644-1911/12) interspersed with Japanese Imari and Kakiemon pieces of the same moment. On the rear wall of the room, over the chest, is a painting of a mythological scene (Diana and Endymion?). Three genre paintings are hung in the corner and across from the draped and shuttered window are seven paintings of ports (possibly of Naples – the Capodimonte seems to be depicted in a painting on the second register). All of the pictures are framed alike to harmonize with the gilt 'boisserie' and mirrors, the stuccoed and frescoed ceiling, and the orange and white marble tiled floor. Two allegorical figures (perhaps a female representation of civitas and a male depicting public felicity?) stand in classical niches on either side of the entry to the room.

It is not impossible to imagine that the present work may have been one of a series of paintings executed to record the whole of a recently decorated palace, and it is of extraordinary quality and interest for the history of interior decoration.