Bernardo Strozzi (Genoa 1581 – 1644 Venice), David with the head of Goliath. Estimation 60,000 — 80,000 €. Photo Sotheby’s.
oil on canvas; 46 by 38 3/4 in.; 116.8 by 98.4 cm.
Provenance: Dr. Gabriel de Térey, Freiburg and Vienna, about 1926-27;
From whom purchased by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Fletcher Fund, 1927 (inv. no. 27.93).
Exposition: Baltimore, Baltimore Museum of Art, Three Baroque Masters: Strozzi, Crespi, Piazzetta, 28 April – 4 June 1944, no. 3;
Louisville, J. B. Speed Art Museum, Old Masters from the Metropolitan, 1 December 1948 – 23 January 1949 (no catalogue);
Madison, Memorial Union Gallery, University of Wisconsin, Old Masters from the Metropolitan, 15 February – 30 March 30 1949 (unnumbered catalogue);
Colorado Springs, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Old Masters from the Metropolitan, 24 April – 30 June 1949 (no catalogue);
Winnipeg, Winnipeg Art Gallery, Favorite Italian and Spanish Masters of the 17th and 18th Centuries (The Baroque Era), 24 October – 18 November 1951, no. 22;
Binghampton, NY, University Art Gallery, State University of New York at Binghamton, Bernardo Strozzi: Paintings and Drawings, 8 October – 5 November 1967, no. 33;
Leningrad [St. Petersburg], State Hermitage Museum, 100 Paintings from the Metropolitan Museum, 22 May – 27 July 1975, no. 10;
Moscow, State Pushkin Museum, 100 Paintings from the Metropolitan Museum, 28 August – 2 November 1975, no. 10;
Bellevue, Washington, Bellevue Art Museum, Five Thousand Years of Faces, 30 January – 30 July 1983, (unnumbered catalogue).
Litterature: Possibly M. Boschini, La carta del navegar pittoresco, Venice 1660, edited by R. Pallucchini, Rome 1966, p. 566
H. B. Wehle, ‘Some Italian Baroque Paintings’, in Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, 24 (July 1929), pp. 187, 190, reproduced p. 188;
A. McComb, The Baroque Painters of Italy: An Introductory Historical Survey, Cambridge, Ma., 1934, pp. 84, 127, reproduced fig. 84;
G. Fiocco in Allgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler, 32, Leipzig 1938, p. 208 (where listed as formerly in the collection of Stefan von Auspitz, apparently incorrectly);
W. H. Siple, ‘An Unpublished Painting by Bernardo Strozzi’, in Bulletin of the Cincinnati Art Museum, 9 (October 1938), pp. 114–15 (suggests that it may be the version formerly in the Hirth collection, Berlin);
H. B. Wehle, The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Catalogue of Italian, Spanish, and Byzantine Paintings, New York 1940, p. 258, reproduced;
L. Mortari, ‘Su Bernardo Strozzi’, in Bollettino d’arte, 40 (October–December 1955), p. 331;
Catalogus schilderijen tot 1800, Rotterdam 1962, p. 136, under cat. no. 2343a;
L. Mortari, Bernardo Strozzi, Rome 1966, pp. 61, 96, 99, 102, 107, 154–55, 170, 185, reproduced fig. 367 (dates it about 1635, during the artist’s Venetian period);
M. Milkovich, in Bernardo Strozzi: Paintings and Drawings, exhibition catalogue, Binghamton 1967, pp. 12, 78, cat. no. 33, reproduced p. 79 (dates it about 1635);
A. Moir, The Italian Followers of Caravaggio, Cambridge, Ma. 1967, vol. 1, pp. 198, 201, 205; vol. 2, p. 108;
B. B. Fredericksen and F. Zeri, Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American PublicCollections, Cambridge, Ma. 1972, pp. 193, 261, 607;
K. Baetjer, European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art by artists born before 1865, A Summary Catalogue, New York 1980, vol. I, p 181, reproduced vol. II, p. 174;
T. Schlotterback in Five Thousand Years of Faces, exhibition catalogue, Bellevue 1983, (unpaginated);
K. Baetjer, European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art by artists born before 1865, A Summary Catalogue, New York 1995, p. 107, reproduced;
M. C. Galassi in Bernardo Strozzi, exhibition catalogue, Genoa 1995, p. 206, under cat. no. 54;
F. Spadavecchia in Bernardo Strozzi, exhibition catalogue, Genoa 1995, p. 226 under cat. no. 64;
L. Mortari, Bernardo Strozzi, Rome 1995, pp. 190-92, cat. no. 494, reproduced;
C. Manzitti, Bernardo Strozzi, Turin 2013, p. 170, cat. no. 216, reproduced.
Notes: This is a characteristic work by Bernardo Strozzi. Typical of the artist are the fluid and voluminous folds of the white drapery as well as the ruddy complexion of the faces. The work is datable to circa 1635, shortly after Strozzi moved from his native Genoa to Venice, where he was to spend the rest of his life. Strozzi must have found considerable commercial success with the subject of David for he returned to the theme several times in different treatments of the theme, both in half-length and full-length formats.
The composition is known in three other versions, the best of which is the smaller work in the Gemaldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden, in which the plumed hat is missing.1 A second version was formerly in a Venetian private collection while a third, of horizontal format, was formerly in the Raffaldini collection in Florence and later on the London art market.2 Galassi (see Literature) suggests Strozzi may have painted a prototype in Genoa which he then replicated during his Venetian period.
The design has strong parallels with Simon Vouet’s work of the same subject painted in Genoa for Giovanni Carlo Doria and today in the Museo di Palazzo Bianco in the same city. The similar design of Strozzi’s Judith with the head of Holofernes in a private collection in Barcellona strongly suggests that the two pictures may have been conceived as a pair, all the more so since the Judith also finds echoes with Vouet’s treatment of the subject, today in a private collection in Genoa, painted as a pendant to the David in Palazzo Bianco. Unfortunately, the precise dimensions of Strozzi’s Judith are unknown so this cannot be verified at this stage. If the pictures were indeed conceived as pendants then they may well be the works listed by Boschini (see Literature) as hanging in Venice in the Bonfaldini collection; it remains to be confirmed, however, if the David mentioned is the present work or another variant.
1. See Manzitti, under Literature, pp. 170-71, cat. no. 217, reproduced.
2. See Mortari 1966, under Literature, p. 185, reproduced fig. 370, and p. 107, reproduced fig. 378. The Raffaldini painting was sold London, Christie’s, 8 July 1988, lot 109.
Sotheby’s. Master Paintings: Part I. New York | 29 janv. 2015, 10:00 AM