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.
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