Lot 288
  • 288

NICOLO BAMBINI | The Triumph of Amphitrite

200,000 - 300,000 USD
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  • Nicolo Bambini
  • The Triumph of Amphitrite
  • oil on canvas
  • 166 by 220 cm.; 65 ¼ by 86 ½ in.


Don Mariano Miguel Maldonado y Dávalos, VII Conde de Villagonzalo y Marqués de la Escala (born in 1851);
Thence by descent to his great grand-daughter;
From whom acquired by the present owner. 


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 a good non-wax lining. The paint layer remains well textured. There are numerous restorations throughout, but these address isolated losses rather than any abrasion. This kind of retouching is not unusual in large works like this. There may be an original join in the canvas running through the piece of coral in the upper center with associated retouching. There are retouches in an area in the upper right corner, including all of the darker clouds here, which extend through the sky into the upper center above the putti. The entire corner may have been lost, giving rise to this retouching. All of the edges are extensively restored, and there are numerous retouches in the back of the figure in the lower left. There are restored structural damages throughout the horses and figures in the lower left. All of the retouches are well applied. The work looks well and should be hung in its current state.
"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 beautiful painting of The Triumph of Amphitrite had long been given to Luca Giordano and was only recently correctly identified as a masterpiece by the Venetian painter Niccolò Bambini by Dr. Lino Moretti. Although Bambini trained in Venice under Sebastiano Mazzoni (1611 – 1678), he left for Rome at an early stage in his career to study under Carlo Maratti, whose classicizing influence is clearly visible in the elegant figure types in the present work. On his return from the Eternal City, Bambini was awarded a number of prestigious commissions in Venice, both from the Venetian Republic and its nobility, including several paintings for the Church in San Stefano and, in 1682, a commission to decorate the Piano Nobile in the Ca’ Pesaro. The paintings from this latter commission reveal a clear stylistic debt to Luca Giordano, whose work no doubt Bambini saw at first hand in Rome as well as in Venice itself, and to whom the present work was formerly attributed. Indeed the figure types, freedom of handling and light palette of The Triumph of Amphitrite can be compared closely to that of the Ca’ Pesaro decoration.1 Towards the end of his career Bambini collaborated with Giambattista Tiepolo on the decoration of Palazzo Sandi. He died in his home town in 1736, leaving his two sons Giovanni and Stefano who were also painters.

Since the late 19th century the present work formed part of the great collection of Old Masters assembled in Madrid by Don Mariano Miguel Maldonado y Dávalos, VII Conde de Villagonzalo y Marqués de la Escala (b. 1851). An architectural design by an anonymous hand, which remains in the collection of the family today, shows one of the internal elevations of the Grand Salon in the Count’s Palace on Via San Mateo, 25, Madrid, with the precise positioning of The Triumph of Amphitrite on a large expanse of paneling to the left of the principal doors (fig. 1).

1. See for example the artist’s ceiling painting of The Triumph of Venice in the Ca’ Pesaro, reproduced in M. Lucco et al., La Pittura nel Veneto, Milan 2001, vol. II, p. 605, fig. 702.