This canvas is a copy of the painting that Caliari executed for the church of Ss. Giacomo e Filippo in Genoa; following the church’s destruction, that work has been held at the Palazzo Bianco in Genoa since 1892. This was the only public work made by Veronese in the Ligurian capital; local artists considered it an absolute masterpiece, using it as a model for learning to paint in the ‘Veneto style’.
Salvator Rosa, 97 x 76 x 6.2
Rome, Borghese Collection 1693 (Inv. 1693, room IX, no. 6; Della Pergola 1955); Inventario Fidecommissario Borghese 1833, p. 37. Purchased by Italian state, 1902.
The provenance of this painting is still unknown. First mentioned in connection with the Borghese Collection in 1693, it was listed in both the Inventario Fidecommissario and in Giovanni Piancastelli’s profiles (1891) as a work of the ‘school of Michelangelo’. Giovanni Morelli’s attribution to Giambattista Zelotti (see Piancastelli 1891) was accepted by Adolfo Venturi but unhesitatingly rejected by Roberto Longhi (1928), who was the first critic to propose the ‘workshop of Veronese’. In the view of this scholar, the Borghese canvas was a copy of an original by the master, close to the variations in the Louvre (inv. no. 145) and in the church of San Sebastiano in Venice.
Paola della Pergola (1955) agreed with Longhi’s thesis, noting similarities with the canvas held at the Academy of Art of Honolulu (formerly in the Kress collection) and with the version at the Galleria Doria Pamphilj in Rome. Remigio Marini (1968) and Teresa Pignatti (1976) likewise concurred, identifying the prototype as the canvas executed by Veronese in roughly 1573 for the church of Ss. Giacomo e Filippo in Genoa, which has been conserved at the Palazzo Bianco of Genoa since 1892.
Like other copies and variations, the work in question, painted by an unknown artist in the last quarter of the 16th century, attests to the success of the original.