ANTONIO JOLI | SAMSON DESTROYING THE PHILISTINE TEMPLE OF DAGAN
A Life of John Richardson: A Scholar Collects
Modena 1700 - 1777 Napoli
SAMSON DESTROYING THE PHILISTINE TEMPLE OF DAGAN
oil on canvas
51½ by 36½ in.; 130.8 by 92.7 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, email@example.com, an independent restorer who is not an employee of Sotheby's.
This work is in good condition overall. The canvas has a good lining which is effectively stabilizing the paint layer. Retouches are visible under ultraviolet light addressing isolated losses. These losses are not numerous, and many areas of the composition show no retouches at all. There is slight thinness in the darker figures against the lighter palace interior in the upper left. A fresh varnish would certainly illuminate the picture better and correct some of the visible blanching in the darker colors. The frame should be repaired. The work could otherwise be hung in its current state.
"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."
This large and impressive capriccio by Antonio Joli of Samson Destroying the Philistine Temple of Dagan likely dates to early in the artist's career, when he was working between Modena and Venice. Its dynamic and theatrical character suggests that it may have been inspired by stage design for a play or an opera. Comparable works by Joli of the same subject though with slight variations in the composition are known, including one in the Museo Civico d'Arte in Modena1 and another that last appeared at auction at Sotheby's Milan in 2001.2 While Joli is responsible for nearly all of this incredibly detailed architectural fantasy, he may have had assistance from his studio on the figures that populate the scene. We are grateful to Dr. Ralph Toledano and Professor Giancarlo Sestieri for independently endorsing the attribution of the present lot on the basis of digital images. Both believe this work may include some intervention from Joli's workshop.
1. Inv. no. 228, oil on canvas, 118 by 95 cm. See R. Toledano, Antonio Joli: Modena 1700-1777, Turin 2006, pp. 88-89, cat. no. C.1.1, reproduced.
2. Oil on canvas, 97.5 by 73 cm. Anonymous sale, Milan, Sotheby's, 4 December 2001, lot 203. See Toledano 2006, p. 90, cat. no. C.1.2, reproduced.