Nicola Maria Rossi
Naples 1690 – 1758 Naples
Eliezer of Damascus offering gifts to Rebecca at the well in Aram Naharaim
Oil on canvas
77.5 cm by 101.5 cm; 30 1/4″ by 40″
SIGNED AND DATED L.L. “NR 1738”
Private Collection, USA
Nicola Maria Rossi was a Neapolitan Artist who studied under Francesco Solimena, entering his studio in 1706 and collaborating with him on several major works. He imitated his Masters style to such perfection that many paintings in later years were thought to be by Solimena himself.
During the early years of the 18th century Naples was ruled by the Austrian Habsburg Empire through a Viceroy. Rossi traveled to Vienna in 1725 and while there he became acquainted with Aloys Thomas Raimund von Harrach who was appointed Viceroy in 1728. On his return to Naples, Rossi was patronized by von Harrach and undertook a large number of official works including an allegory of Wisdom (Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna) and the arrival of the Viceroy at the Royal Palace (Harrach collection). Following the establishment of Bourbon rule in 1734 Rossi continued to be patronized by the royal court and its members.
In 1737, following the marriage by proxy of Charles VII of Naples and Maria Amelia of Saxony, the Royal Palace in Naples was found to be in severe need of repair and redecoration in order to become a suitable residence for the new Royal couple. Rossi along with other major Neapolitan artist’s was employed to execute this new decoration, being given specifically the Queen’s apartments, in 1738 Maria Amelia arrives in Naples and the present painting can be seen as a suitable allegory of the Royal Couple’s marriage.
While primarily known for his religious and allegorical works, many of which are to be found in the churches of Naples, Rossi was also renowned for his portraiture.
We are grateful to Prof. Nicola Spinosa for his confirmation that the present work was painted by the artist Nicola Maria Rossi.