Domenico Gargiulo, called Micco Spadaro (Naples 1610-1675) The Massacre of the Innocents, indistinctly monogrammed centre right, oil on canvas, 138 x 257 cm, framed ÜBERLANGTEXT
Collection of Giuseppe Vianello Moro (1873–1948), acquired at the beginning of the 20th Century;
thence by descent;
Private European collection,
We are grateful to Nicola Spinosa for confirming the attribution of the present painting after examination of the original.
Domenico Gargiulo, is identified by the pseudonym Micco Spadaro, as he was the son of a swordsmith (spadaio) and blade maker.
Another version of this subject by Micco Spadaro is conserved in the Museo di Capodimonte, Naples (cat. no. 00626142,168 x 235 cm). When compared to the Neapolitan canvas, the dramatic episode is similarly set within a wide valley, but the present painting is distinguished for its greater number of figures. Other differences include the monumental buildings that serve as a backdrop to the depiction of the massacre, which is enclosed on the right by rocky hills and ancient ruins.
As in other compositions by Micco Spadaro, it is possible that in the present painting he may have been assisted in the composition by the quadraturista, Viviano Codazzi for the depiction of the ancient roman monuments. These architectural features have no counterparts in the version of this subject at Capodimonte. The increased splendour and the greater variety of iconographic and compositional solutions that appear in this canvas, as compared to that in Naples, point to a date around 1650. That is to the years of the artist’s full maturity, characterised by his use of warm and luminous macchie (paint layers) influenced by the work of Benedetto Castiglione, called Il Grechetto, and Nicholas Poussin.
The spectacular effect of the crowded scene, unfolding under a cloudy Mediterranean sky, is increased by the inclusion of further antiquities: a pair of sculpted lions at the entrance to Herod’s palace, the obelisk positioned at the centre of the composition and the sculptural fragment placed before the monumental domed building, as well as the large statue of the Hercules Farnese standing in the shadows on the left side of the canvas.
A third version of the subject of the Massacre of the Innocents in a private collection in Madrid (160 x 190 cm; see G. Sestieri, B. Daprà, Domenico Gargiulo detto Micco Spadaro. Paesaggista e ‘cronista’ napoletano, Milan-Rome 1994, p. 184, no. 73). Which is closer to the Capodimonte version than the painting under discussion. It remains impossible however to ascertain if one of these three versions can be identified with the canvas of the same subject recorded by the biographer Bernardo de Dominici in the mid-eighteenth century (see Vite de’ pittori, scultori ed architetti napoletani (1742–45), III, Naples 1844, p. 405) as being listed in the inventory of the property of the Spanish regent, Stefano Carriglio.
In the Gospel according to Saint Mathew (2: 1-16) the dramatic episode of the Massacre of the Innocents took place in the courtyard of the palace of King Herod, who watched the murder of the children as he sat, unmoved, on his throne. In the present painting, however, the Neapolitan painter preferred to locate the scene in a landscape in front of the royal palace which is positioned to the left of the canvas. With a fluid and tumultuous composition, drawing the viewer’s gaze into a network of ever-changing shifts in direction, the artist demonstrates his propensity to open up to the new language of Baroque painting, deploying a great theatricality, capable of accentuating the dramatic effect of the action, the bold dynamism of the figures, and the light which flashes with intensity and brilliance.
Lieu et date de la vente Maîtres Anciens chez Dorotheum GmbH & Co KG
Palais Dorotheum, Dorotheergasse 17 1010 Vienne
10 novembre 2021
The buyer's premium shall be as follows:
a) for items subject to margin tax (not specially marked in the catalogue/in the description) or for sales where the Dorotheum acts as an agent
(marked with a "V" ["Vermittlung" = agent sale] in the catalogue/in the description):
up to an amount of EUR 10,000 28% of the hammer price
for the amount exceeding EUR 10,000 25%
for the amount exceeding EUR 100,000: 22%
for the amount exceeding EUR 600,000: 15%
In these cases the buyer's premium includes the statutory VAT (Example below 1)
b) for fully taxable items (marked in the catalogue/in the description with the symbol „+“ for 20% VAT, with „–“ for 5% VAT or with „#“ for 10%
up to a hammer price of EUR 10,000: 23.34% of the hammer price
for the amount exceeding EUR 10,000 20.84%
for the amount exceeding EUR 100,000: 18.34%
for the amount exceeding EUR 600,000: 12.5%
Pour tout renseignement veuillez contacter la Maison de Ventes au : Buyers hotline : Mon.-Fri.: 9.00am - 6.00pm firstname.lastname@example.org +43 1 515 60 200