Nicolò Bambini (Venice 1652-1736) Susanna and the Elders, oil on canvas, 147.5 x 200.5 cm, framed Überlangtext
Private European collection
The composition and the repertoire of expressive gestures are all characteristic of Bambini’s artistic output. The figures of the bearded elders can be compared to the figure of Jupiter in the painting Juno, Jupiter and Io in the Museum Pavlovsk Palace, Saint Petersburg. The pose adopted for the figure of Susanna is also a distinctive trait of Bambini’s manner, which is possible to retrace in the four canvas of the Divinità at Villa Pisani, Stra (see R. Radassao, Nicolò Bambini ‘pittore pronto, spedito ed universale’, in: Saggi e Memorie di storia dell’arte, 1998, vol. 22, pp. 131-287).
The present painting can also be compared to another similar work by Bambini representing Galatea, which was sold at Dorotheum, 9 April 2014, lot 521. In executing this composition, Bambini also took inspiration from the Susanna and the Elders by Sebastiano Ricci (1659–1734) in the Devonshire Collection, Chatsworth, and from the canvas in the Galleria Nazionale, Parma.
This painting reveals the influence of the classicist painter Pietro Liberi (1605–1687). Particularly, it brings to mind Liberi’s Bathseba in the National Museum of Fine Arts, Chisinau, Moldova and the Lot and his daughters in the Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest (inv. no. 67.14).
Although Bambini trained in Venice under Sebastiano Mazzoni (1611–1678), he left for Rome at an early stage of his career to study under Carlo Maratta. On his return, Bambini was awarded a number of prestigious commissions from the Venetian Republic and its nobility, including several paintings intended for the church of Santo Stefano and, in 1682, a decoration for the Piano Nobile in Ca’ Pesaro. The paintings from this latter commission reveal a clear stylistic debt to Luca Giordano, whose works Bambini saw in Rome, as well as in Venice. Towards the end of his career Bambini collaborated with Giambattista Tiepolo for the decoration of Palazzo Sandi. He died in his hometown in 1736, leaving behind his two sons Giovanni and Stefano who were also painters.