View 1 of Lot 19. GIOVANNI BATTISTA CARACCIOLO, CALLED BATTISTELLO | SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST IN THE WILDERNESS.
View 1 of Lot 19. GIOVANNI BATTISTA CARACCIOLO, CALLED BATTISTELLO | SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST IN THE WILDERNESS.
19

GIOVANNI BATTISTA CARACCIOLO, CALLED BATTISTELLO | SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST IN THE WILDERNESS

Estimate:

100,000 - 150,000 USD

SOLD WITHOUT RESERVE

GIOVANNI BATTISTA CARACCIOLO, CALLED BATTISTELLO | SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST IN THE WILDERNESS

GIOVANNI BATTISTA CARACCIOLO, CALLED BATTISTELLO | SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST IN THE WILDERNESS

Estimate:

100,000 - 150,000 USD

Lot sold:

81,250

USD

GIOVANNI BATTISTA CARACCIOLO, CALLED BATTISTELLO

Naples 1578 - 1635

SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST IN THE WILDERNESS


oil on canvas

59 by 46½ in.; 149.8 by 118.1 cm.


Renowned Art Dealer Fabrizio Moretti and The Strokes' Fab Moretti Collaborate

Dr. Carlo Croce, Philadelphia, by 1993;

Anonymous sale, New York, Christie's, 14 January 1993, lot 126;

Anonymous sale, New York, Sotheby's, 25 January 2007, lot 50, for $90,000;

There acquired by Coll & Cortés, Madrid;

By whom sold to a Spanish private collector.

S. Causa, Battistello Caracciolo. L’opera completa, Naples 2000, pp. 197-8, under cat. no. A89, reproduced p. 292, fig. 282.

Northampton, MA, Smith College Museum of Art, Baroque Painters in Italy, 17 November 1989 - 8 February 1990, on loan from Dr. Croce;

Princeton, NJ, Princeton Art Museum, 1995-2006, on loan.

This painting is an autograph replica of a slightly smaller work, signed with Caracciolo’s monogram, which was formerly in the collection of the sculptor Emilio Greco in Rome until it was sold by his heirs at Sotheby’s in Milan in 2005.Roberto Longhi first published the monogrammed work as a painting by Caracciolo from 1616-1622, while Moir, Prohaska, and Causa (See Literature) dated the painting to the 1620s. Therefore, it is likely that this version was produced shortly after and is also datable to the 1620s.


In this Caravaggesque composition, Saint John the Baptist emerges from the dark wilderness that surrounds him. When compared to the other signed and smaller version, the scale of the saint is actually consistent between the two works. This is due to the greater use of empty and dark space, which further dramatizes the scene. Details in Saint John's body, such as his head, hands, and feet, are better appreciated as a result of the artificial light that illuminates his exposed torso and legs. Caracciolo uses the chiaroscuro effect to heighten the intensity of this scene, a technique he inherited from Caravaggio but interpreted in his unique style.


Saint John's body is foreshortened in this work, as it is meant to be observed from below, a technique known as da sotto in su. This adds to his grandeur, while the saint's energetic gesture and half-open mouth both indicate that he is preaching to someone outside the picture space. 


The attribution to Giovanni Battista Caracciolo has previously been endorsed by Prof. Nicola Spinosa, Michael Stoughton, Dr. Wolfgang Prohaska, John T. Spike, and Stefano Causa. The art historian Dr. Erich Schleier also endorsed the attribution to Caracciolo in a letter from 20 March 2018, which is available upon request. In his letter, he references that Prof. Spinosa dated this painting to 1622, while Gianni Papi and Antonio Vannugli further endorsed its attribution to Caracciolo. 


1. Oil on canvas, 135 by 103 cm. See anonymous sale, Milan, Sotheby’s, 29 November 2005, lot 182, for €237,750; see S. Causa, pp. 197-98, cat. no. A89, reproduced on p. 292, fig. 281.