Alongside a rediscovered painting by Leonardo student Gian Giacomo Caprotti, known widely by his nickname Salaì, Paris auction house Artcurial will offer another work completely new to the market this fall. A 17th century portrait of Saint Andrew by Jusepe de Ribera will be sold during the house’s old masters and 19th century art sale on November 18. The painting is expected to fetch a price of €80,000-120,000 ($95,000 to $142,000).
The work comes to auction from a private Serbian collection. According to Artcurial’s record of the piece, it was damaged in 1946 after being confiscated by communist forces in Belgrade. It has been examined by Ribera scholar Nicola Spinosa.
The saint, who is depicted bare-chested under a cascading light, stands out against a dark background—these attributes are signature to Ribera’s single-figure devotional paintings. Known for his naturalistic style after Caravaggio, by the mid 17th century the Spanish-born artist was well established in Naples, completing commissions for the Cosimo II Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany and the Spanish Viceroys. His style began to shift in the 1630s, moving from highly contrasted chiaroscuro toward a softer and tonal scheme amid the rise of Baroque painting in the region.
Versions made after the original include one now in the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Narbonne (formerly in the Fangi collection in Milan); another recorded from the collection of Ernst von Schoen-Wildenegg in Berlin in 1925; another copy is in the Strelenhkie collection in Stockholm.
A larger variant of the same subject, though with the saint’s left hand holding a fish, dated from 1630 sold at Christie’s in October 2019 for $137,000, against an estimate of $100,000 to $150,000. The seller of that piece bought it less than two years earlier at Sotheby’s for only $37,500 where it was attributed to Ribera’s studio. Another copy sold at Sotheby’s New York in January 2015 for $62,500.
The artist’s auction record moved up recent with the sale of Girl with a Tambourine for £5.9 million ($7.4 million) at Sotheby’s London in July 2019. His next highest auction price was set a decade earlier when Sotheby’s sold Ribera’s dramatic mythological scheme Prometheus for £3.8 million ($6.2 million) from the collection of Johnson & Johnson heiress Barbara Piasecka Johnson in July 2009 in London.