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Ritratto di Salomone, il Re saggio

Sebastiano Conca (Gaeta 1680 – 1764 Napoli)

Sebastiano Conca
(Gaeta 1680 - 1764 Naples)

Portrait of Solomon, the Wise King, holding the model of the Temple in Jerusalem

Oil on canvas

65,5 x 50 cm.
Framed 85 x 72 cm

Provenance: Christie's, London, 09 Dec 2016 lot.185. (£ 10,000 - £ 15,000) - fig.1
D23-041 € 8.500 Request information

The beautiful painting we are pleased to offer you depicts an image of the famous King Solomon, the legendary biblical figure who over the centuries has become the personification of the good ruler, proverbially recognised as one of the wisest politicians in history.

The extraordinarily beautiful figure with ethereal features gives us a sumptuous and extremely captivating image. Making the work extremely interesting is the Temple of Solomon that he holds in his hands, a place that enjoyed immense fame over the centuries, and that after its destruction became a symbol of the wisdom of the man who built it.

To reinforce the image of wisdom, he holds in his hands an open book, the Song of Songs, written by Solomon himself.

The young ruler, with curly blond hair, wears a cream-coloured robe with a blue veil, as he gazes at the observer with shining brown eyes and his mouth slightly open in devout contemplation.

The image is particularly fascinating, characterised by a light colour scheme, with the king being radiated by a strong light, thanks to a refined painting full of feeling.

The work fits perfectly into the catalogue of Sebastiano Conca (1680 - 1764) and shows all his best pictorial characteristics.

After a solid training in Naples at the school of Francesco Solimena, Conca achieved success when he moved to Rome in 1707 to Carlo Maratta's workshop. Here he succeeded in the not easy task of inserting himself into the competitive Roman art scene and began to address an international clientele, taking advantage of the continuous passage of collectors and intermediaries from all over Europe who appreciated his highly decorative Rococo style.

As stated in the catalogue of the monographic exhibition dedicated to Sebastiano Conca (G. Sestieri, in Sebastiano Cona (1680-1764). Exhibition catalogue, Gaeta 1981, pp. 312.13, nos. 114 a-b), it is assumed that the painter produced this subject at the specific request of Cardinal Ottoboni.

By way of comparison, works similar to ours, certainly replicated by the author, almost superimposable in composition and iconography have appeared on the antiquarian market:
- Pandolfini, Florence, 8 June 2021 Auction, 1057 ( (€ 12,000 / 18,000 pair) - fig.2
- Sotheby's, New York, 27 Jan 2006 lot 364 ($ 20,000 - $ 30,000) - fig.3

The work is in excellent condition already cleaned and re-stained complete with a beautiful gilded and lacquered frame.


The painting is sold with a certificate of authenticity and descriptive iconographic card.

We take care of and organise the transport of the purchased works, both for Italy and abroad, through professional and insured carriers.
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