Lot 8
  • 8

Alessandro Rosi

40,000 - 60,000 USD
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  • Alessandro Rosi
  • Cain and Abel
  • oil on canvas
  • 26 3/4 by 20 1/2 in.; 68 by 52 cm.


Volpe collection, Bologna;
With Pietro Cantore, Bologna;
From whom acquired. 


E. Acanfora, Alessandro Rosi, Florence 1994, pp. 41-42, 90, cat. no. 68, reproduced p. 166, fig. 56.


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 work has been restored and should be hung in its current state. The canvas has been lined with wax as an adhesive. Isolated losses have received restorations. The figure of God in the upper right shows weakness in his right hand and a complex damage in the arm and leg on the right side of the figure. In Cain's back, there is a damage that runs from his spine to his right bicep. There is another restoration between his shoulder blades, and a few around his right hip. Abel has a few small retouches in his figure, but none of any significance. There are isolated retouches around the figures, particularly in the sky, and around all four edges. The work 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

This engaging image embodies those qualities of emotional and religious intensity depicted in this sinuous style of the Florentine Seicento for which Alessandro Rosi is admired. In the dramatic scene, Rosi depicts the moment just after Cain has slain his brother Abel, who lays ashen in the foreground, as God the Father appears in a swirl of clouds above.  In Rosi's striking composition, Cain's back is turned to the viewer as he looks up at God above, the drama of their encounter enhanced by the stormy blue and purple sky. 

The artistic personality of Rosi had until the late 20th century been somewhat confused.  Most of his works (including the present painting) had previously, and erroneously, been given to Sigismondo Coccopani, a figure to whom now only a few documented works can be attributed. Rosi appears to have been well aware of the trends in Florentine painting of his day, and worked as an apprentice in the studio of Cesare and Vincezo Dandini along with his contemporary Carlo Dolci.  His fresco series of Allegories in the closed loggia of Palazzo Corsini are among Rosi's most accomplished works, and, as they are fully documented works, have greatly aided in establishing an accepted corpus for this once elusive artist.