- The Giant Orion
- oil on canvas, unlined
Ricchini collection, Villa Cheirasca, Italy;
Romanengo collection, Genoa, since 1873.
The canvas is unlined. Under a dirty and uneven old varnish. The actual painting reads a bit darker in the dark tones than they appear in the catalogue image. There is a heavy craquelure pattern throughout that gives the surface an uneven appearance. Impressions from the stretcher bars can be seen around all four sides. There is a small vertical scratch and small puncture in the canvas at lower right, as can be seen in the catalogue image, and a small L-shaped tear (patched on the reverse) in the sky at lower center. As is typical with Italian paintings of this period, the darker pigments of the background have sunken and lost some of their definition. However, the paint surface of the figure has been very well retained with very good preservation of the impasto in his flesh tones and drapery. Under UV light: it is very difficult to see anything due to the old varnish. There may be some scattered inpaints of the craquelure and retouches here and there in the darks, but it is hard to tell. This painting has clearly not been attended to in a long time and would benefit from sensitive restoration, improving the overall appearance and presenting a very striking image.
Offered in a green painted wood frame with gilt rosettes at corners and gilding along edges.
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.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
The as-yet unidentified artist was almost certainly active in Rome shortly after the turn of the seventeenth century, when the extraordinary number of painters from all over Europe to the Città Eterna
created a fecund and febrile artistic milieu. The author of this unusual depiction of the Giant Orion must have seen the Belvedere Torso, today in the Vatican Museums, as well as possibly being aware of the series of nudes painted by the Carracci family.
Having been blinded by Oenopian, the huntsman Orion is seen here regaining his sight at the break of a new dawn on the island of Lemnos, as per Apollodorus' tale. After his death Zeus elevated Orion to the Heavens, where a constellation was named after him.