Bologna 1648 - 1729
Saint Joseph with the Christ Child
oil on canvas
99.5 x 80 cm.; 39⅛ x 31½ in.
The canvas is unlined, the paint surface is very dirty and the varnish very discoloured. There is a slight degree of wear to the paint surface visible throughout. There are small paint losses scattered in the background, as well as in both figures, notably to two slightly bigger losses in Joseph's right sleeve (the larger of which measures 1 x 0.5 cm.), most with associated retouching that is now discoloured. There are a handful of light scuffs and surface scratches also visible in the lower half of the painting, and a few small holes in the canvas along all four margins as a result of woodworm in the stretcher. There are also faint stretcher marks along each margin with associated retouching, as well as further discoloured retouchings scattered in Joseph's clothes, most notably in his yellow robe, lower right. Inspection under ultraviolet light reveals a thick milky varnish, underneath which the aforementioned retouchings in Joseph's yellow robe, lower right, are confirmed. There are some more recent spots of retouching in both of his eyes and scattered in Christ's forehead, the lower half of his face, and the top of his shoulder. An older campaign of retouching is visible along the edge and in the folds of Joseph's right sleeve, as well as around his shoulder, but any other older intervention is difficult to discern underneath the thick varnish. The painting is in overall fair condition.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
We are grateful to both Keith Christiansen and Prof. Daniele Benati for endorsing the attribution, the former following first-hand inspection and the latter based on images.