View full screen - View 1 of Lot 75. Sold Without Reserve | MASTER OF THE ANNUNCIATION TO THE SHEPHERDS | PORTRAIT OF A SCHOLAR.
75

Sold Without Reserve | MASTER OF THE ANNUNCIATION TO THE SHEPHERDS | PORTRAIT OF A SCHOLAR

Reserves

Estimate:

15,000

to
- 20,000 USD

Property from a Distinguished Private Collection, Sold Without Reserve

Sold Without Reserve | MASTER OF THE ANNUNCIATION TO THE SHEPHERDS | PORTRAIT OF A SCHOLAR

Sold Without Reserve | MASTER OF THE ANNUNCIATION TO THE SHEPHERDS | PORTRAIT OF A SCHOLAR

Estimate:

15,000

to
- 20,000 USD

Lot sold:

47,500

USD

Property from a Distinguished Private Collection, Sold Without Reserve

MASTER OF THE ANNUNCIATION TO THE SHEPHERDS

active in Naples circa 1620-1640

PORTRAIT OF A SCHOLAR


oil on canvas

canvas: 52 by 46 in.; 132.1 by 116.8 cm.

framed: 59 by 53⅛ in.; 150 by 135 cm.

The painting has a recent glue relining. Under a very dirty and discolored old varnish. The surface, except for some old repaired localized holes and small repairs, has not been addressed in a long time. The paint surface itself appears to be in good state, and removal of this old varnish will make it much more striking. Under UV: old damages are localized in unimportant areas of the composition, including an old repaired hole at lower left which may have included a loss to the original canvas (about 2.5 inches high), a small compound tear to the left of his sleeve lower center, a small repair of about 1inch in the white document below his hand, a slightly larger spot of repair above the same hand, some scattered repairs in the upper right. Otherwise, the restorations are scattered and very minor. In a 19th century Louis XIII style giltwood frame, with a loss to the inner liner at lower right corner, at bottom and up the side.


The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot provided by Sotheby's. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colours and shades which are different to the lot's actual colour and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation because Sotheby's is not a professional conservator or restorer but rather the condition report is a statement of opinion genuinely held by Sotheby's. For that reason, Sotheby's condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot.

Purchased from the descendant of an early owner by John Chaundy, Oxford, England; From whom purchased by George Shea in 1889;

By whom given to the General Theological Seminary, New York, in 1890-2010;

Acquired by the present owner, 2010, for $20,000.

G. Shea, Some Facts and Probabilities Relating to the History of Johannes Scotus, Surnamed Duns, and Concerning the Genuineness of the Spagnoletto Portrait Belonging to the General Theological Seminary of the United States, Cambridge 1890, pp. 1-31, passim.;

N. Spinosa, Pittura del Seicento a Napoli. Da Caravaggio a Massimo Stanzione, Naples 2010, p. 331, cat. no. 293;

A. della Ragione, Il vero nome del Maestro dell’annuncio ai pastori, Naples 2018, pp. 37, 44, reproduced p. 34, fig. 5, and p. 58, fig. 47.

Although his firm identity has been elusive, the Master of the Annunciation to the Shepherds is one of the most interesting and individual artists working in Naples in the first half of the 17th Century, and his output represents a cohesive body of work of very high quality. Nicola Spinosa will publish the present work in his monograph on the artist (forthcoming in 2020/21) as cat. no. 60b, an autograph version of a painting by the Master in the Royal Collection, Hampton Court (inv. RCIN 404967).1 


For many years, the present work was in the collection of the General Theological Seminary where it was considered a depiction of the theologian John Duns Scotus by Giuseppe de Ribera, as was the canvas at Hampton Court. However, the connection of the Hampton Court painting to Duns Scotus was doubted as early as 1958, and the subject would appear to represent an unspecified scholar or philosopher, the type of image then popular amongst Neapolitan collectors.2 In a 1983 article in The Burlington Magazine, Giuseppe di Vito pointed out the strong similarities between the Hampton Court version of the "Duns Scotus" portrait and figures portrayed in three paintings given to the Master of the Annunciation to the Shepherds, active in Naples circa 1620-40, and influenced by the works of Ribera. These include the figure of the rabbi in Christ Among the Doctors in Powerscourt House, Dublin; the rabbi in another painting of this subject in the Museo di Capodimonte, Naples; and Man in Meditation in the Alte Pinakothek, Munich.3


We are grateful to Nicola Spinosa for endorsing the attribution in full to the Master of the Annunciation to the Shepherds, and for his observations on the painting.


1. Other versions of varying quality are in the collections of the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Pau; Bodleian Library, Oxford; Earl of Wemyss, Gosford House; Merton College, Oxford; and formerly the Houston Gallery, Wells, Somerset in 1967.


2. F. Bologna, Francesco Solimena, Naples 1958, p. 29, where he ascribes the Hampton Court version to Francesco Fracanzano.


3. See G. di Vito, "The Author of 'Duns Scotus' at Hampton Court, in Burlington Magazine, November 1983, pp. 685-6.