Saint Philip Destroying the Idol
23.5 cm x 38.4 cm (9 1/4 in. x 15 1/8 in.)
(Bagnoli Irpino. Italy, 1718 – ca. 1778, Naples, Italy)
Medium and Support:
Pen and brown ink with brush and gray and brown washes over black chalk on cream antique lalid paper, squared in black chalk
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, The Suida-Manning Collection, 2017
A pupil and follower of Francesco Solimena, Cestaro retained something of his master’s gift for large-scale decoration while tempering the vibrant eccentricities and stressing the classicizing component. His first dated work is the vast decoration, in fresco and on canvas, of the church of Santi Filippo e Giacomo in Naples (1757-59). This is a study for one of the compositions, also seen in an oil sketch that recently appeared on the art market. The grandiose types and the dramatic modulation of light owe to Solimena, but they are contained by a simpler measure, more compact form, and more deliberate handling that reflect general developments.