Paintings | 17th Century | Leonardo Coccorante | Capriccio with ancient ruins and figures, dawn (II) | Expertise


138 x 90,5 cm
Oil on canvas


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Capriccio with ancient ruins and figures, dawn (II)

Leonardo Coccorante

The Expertise


I know through physical inspection two paintings both depicting ruins of ancient architectures, and I deem them characteristic and autographic works of the 18th century Neapolitan painter, who was born not in the year 1700 – as it is generally stated in the repertories and as it has been erroneously repeated in the Catalogue of the recent exhibition “Civiltà del Settecento a Napoli” vol. I, p. 168 – but in 1680, as it has long been established thanks to the finding of his wedding ring, bearing such date – and who died in 1750. Alongside with the unmistakable genre and with the comparisons with the most representative pieces of the Master, the attribution of the two paintings to Coccorante is made certain by the presence, on the first of such works just below the standing figure with the sword on his side, of the letters “LC”, the well known signature of the painter. As far as the dating is concerned, one must take into account the fact that having set the date of the Master’s birth twenty years earlier than what it was generally believed, compels a thorough revision of the chronology of his production. Awaiting for such revision to be carried out in an appropriate place, it may here suffice to remark that the two works are very close both in subject matter and in style to the “Ruins with war scenes” of the Pucci Collection in Naples (see the above mentioned catalogue of the Neapolitan exhibition, vol. I, fig. 708), and that thus, together with the canvas of the Pucci Collection just mentioned, they represent a moment of undoubted and advanced maturity in the art of Coccorante. An art happily evocative of the luministic sharpness of Viviano Codazzi and already projected into a pre-romantic atmosphere. True examples of rare pictorial beauty and of scenographic skill, the two works were part of a series of four, now separated in various collections, that must be considered amongst the highest peaks reached by the inventive Neapolitan “Ruins Painter”. Their state of preservation is also excellent. (Ferdinando Bologna, 23rd November 1983)