Old Master Paintings & Works on Paper Day Auction

Old Master Paintings & Works on Paper Day Auction

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 184. Saint Cecilia.

Property from a Private Collection

Corrado Giaquinto

Saint Cecilia

Lot Closed

July 4, 10:22 AM GMT


30,000 - 40,000 GBP

Lot Details


Property from a Private Collection

Corrado Giaquinto

Molfetta 1703–1766 Naples

Saint Cecilia

oil on canvas

unframed: 64.1 x 49.5 cm.; 25¼ x 19½ in.

framed: 83.5 x 67.1 cm.; 32⅞ x 26⅜ in.

Luigi Grassi (1858–1937), Milan (according to a record at the Fondazione Zeri, Bologna);

Private collection, Rome;

By whom sold, Rome, Casa d'Aste Babuino, 17 December 2018, lot 204;

Where acquired by the present owner.

This charming depiction of Saint Cecilia, patroness of music and musicians, is closely related to a picture previously owned by Dr. Stephen Pepper, of marginally larger dimensions.1 Dott. Francesco Petrucci dates the present painting to Giaquinto's youth, around 1730–35, shortly after the artist had arrived in Rome.2 Upon his arrival in the Eternal City, Giaquinto worked in the studio of Sebastiano Conca (1680–1764), whose style is certainly reflected here, particularly in the positioning of the martyr saint and the soft handling of paint. Indeed, Saint Cecilia's proper right hand and the putto behind her, holding a sheet of music, are both comparable to these same compositional elements in Conca's treatment of the subject sold in these Rooms in 2016.3

We are grateful to Dott. Francesco Petrucci for endorsing the attribution to Corrado Giaquinto upon the examination of digital images.

Note on Provenance

According to a record at the Fondazione Zeri, Bologna, this painting was previously in the collection of Luigi Grassi: a painter, collector, art dealer and conservator, who was a restorer at the Uffizi Gallery, Florence, early in his career.4 Other works that passed through Grassi's hands included the Saint Catherine of Alexandria and twelve scenes from her life by Donato d'Arezzo (active 1315–about 1340) and Gregorio d'Arezzo (active 1315–about 1340), today in the Getty Museum, Los Angeles,5 and a Madonna and Child of around 1470 by Sandro Botticelli (1446–1510) in the National Gallery of Art, Washington.6

1 Oil on canvas, 65.7 x 49.5 cm.; G.L. Hersey, in A Taste for Angels: Neapolitan Painting in North America, 1650–1750, exh. cat., New Haven 1987, pp. 295–296, 322–4, no. 47, reproduced on p. 323.

2 Private correspondence; available on request.

3 Oil on canvas, 133 x 97.5 cm.; London, Sotheby's, 7 July 2016, lot 189; https://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/2016/old-master-british-paintings-day-l16034/lot.189.html?locale=en. Giancarlo Sestieri dates that picture to 1735–45: G. Sestieri, in Sebastiano Conca (1680–1764), N. Spinosa (ed.), exh. cat., Gaeta 1981, pp. 160–61, no. 35, reproduced.

4 FONDAZIONE ZERI | CATALOGHI ONLINE : Anonimo — Giaquinto Corrado - sec. XVIII - Santa Cecilia (unibo.it).

5 Object no. 73.PB.69; tempera and gold leaf on panel, 107 x 174 cm.; https://www.getty.edu/art/collection/object/103RCZ.

6 Accession no. 1937.1.21; tempera on panel, 74.5 x 54.5 cm.; https://www.nga.gov/collection/art-object-page.23.html.