Saint Dominic Resuscitating a Mason
29.8 cm x 19.1 cm (11 3/4 in. x 7 1/2 in.)
(Gaeta, Italy, 1680 – 1764, Naples, Italy)
Medium and Support:
Recto: Pen and brown ink with brush and brown wash and white heightening over black chalk on beige antique laid paper, squared in graphite; Verso: Two Studies of Male Heads, in red chalk, and Studies of Legs, Feet and the Bust of a Man, in red and black c
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, The Suida-Manning Collection, 2017
The preeminent painter in early 18th-century Rome, Conca carried on the late Baroque classicism of Carlo Maratta, at first with the fluid rhythms, iridescent color, and sentimentalism of his Neapolitan training with Francecso Solimena, then with an ever greater disciplining of form and expression that point toward Neoclassicism. His very first public commission in Rome (1714) was an altarpiece of the Madonna of the Rosary for San Clemente. Its overwhelming success led to an immediate request for a pendant painting. This unpublished drawing is a compositional study for that second altarpiece. The elaboration of the study is so pictorial (and now properly legible following treatment to reverse the oxidation of its heightening) and the discrepancies between it and the painting are so minor -- not to mention the squaring of the design for transfer -- that is must have served as the model.