In other examples of the subject Stomer arranges his three protagonists more conventionally around the rear, left and right sides of the small table, the flame glowing naked in the centre: see, for example, those in Grenoble, Musée des Beaux-Arts and Naples, Capodimonte.2 It is an idiosyncrasy of this version that much of our view is blocked by the back of a disciple, seated at the side of the table directly in front of us, as he recoils, rising to his feet, in surprise. Wayne Franits, who has inspected this painting first-hand, dates it to the early 1630s, which is to say to the years he spent in Rome from 1630, or to the period shortly after his arrival in Naples in 1633.
1 B. Nicolson, Caravaggism in Europe, Oxford 1989, vol. I, p. 124, reproduced vol. III, fig. 1244.
2 Nicolson 1989, vol. I, p. 183, reproduced vol. III, figs 1479 and 1503.
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