Property from an American Collection
(Naples 1634 - 1705)
APOLLO AND DAPHNE
signed lower right: Jordano / .F.
oil on canvas
45 4/5 by 52 1/5 in.; 114.5 by 132.5 cm.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org, an independent restorer who is not an employee of Sotheby's.
This work has been lined with wax as an adhesive. The surface is attractive. The painting is clean, varnished and retouched. The varnish is slightly uneven, particularly in the sky, and could be improved. The varnish is quite opaque, but most of the retouches are identifiable and do not indicate any unusual damages or areas of concern. The back of the male figure in the lower left is abraded, and there are retouches throughout this figure and the three figures in the lower left. In the two central figures, there are carefully placed spots of retouching addressing some canvas texture. There is a broader area of restoration in Daphne's blue robe to the left of her hips. Similar retouches are visible in the putti in the upper right, and in the golden cloak to the right of Apollo's left arm. It is possible that there are some older retouches in the sky beneath the varnish, but the condition is good in general. The picture shows very little of the kind of discoloration that tends to occur in these works, and it looks well overall.
"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."
Anonymous sale, London, Sotheby’s, 6 December 1967, lot 37;
There acquired by a private collection, Milan;
From whom purchased by the previous owner.
This is a densely colored Apollo and Daphne executed on a grand scale by Luca Giordano, the most versatile and well-traveled painter of the Italian Baroque. Giordano was long known by his nickname, 'Fa Presto' ('works quickly'), denoting his ability to produce high quality commissions at a rapid rate. These included altarpieces, bozzetti mythological paintings, as here, and complex decorative programs for both private palaces and public churches. As his career (and travels) progressed, Giordano moved away from a darker Caravaggist tenebrism in favor of a brighter palette which embraced color and dynamic Baroque movement.
This previously unpublished canvas can be compared to Giordano's mythologically themed cycle of paintings, which included a work of the same subject, executed between 1687 and 1689 and destined for a distinguished Spanish patron. The cycle of at least 12 paintings was sent from Naples to Madrid, and the other version of Apollo and Daphne today remains part of the Spanish Patrimonio Nacional. A drawing with a similar grouping of figures, now in the Musée du Louvre, Paris (inv. no. 9631), was traditionally considered to be a preparatory sketch for the Spanish Apollo and Daphne, however the composition is in fact closer to the present painting.