Christ tempted by Satan, Genoese school, 18th century


A large-sized and exquisite drawing precise as a miniature.
Christ tempted by Satan, Genoese school, 18th century.


Genoese school from the 18th century

Christ tempted by Satan

Gouache on vellum.

272 x 218 mm – 10 11/16 x 8 9/16 in. 

Provenance – According to the inscription on the back of the old mount by a collector called F. Marquet: Spinola family, Genoa, with two other gouaches by the same hand; Mrs Blanc, Nice; acquired 1 000 francs each by the inscription author’s uncle, Eugène Marquet.


After forty days of fasting in the desert, Christ meets Satan, who suggested that he should test God’s love by asking Him to change stones into bread. This passage from the Gospels of Luke, Mark, and Matthew is treated here with elegance and realism: Christ, whose beautiful head in profile recalls 16th-century mannerists models, is sitting straight on a stone and vivaciously rejects Satan’s proposal. The latter is easily identified by his hooked feet, pointy nails, little horns on the top of his head, and above all by his sneaky attitude. 


Although the present gouache, and others by the same hand, remain anonymous, their excellent quality is remarkable. Like the two other drawings on vellum by the same hand that we have presented on this site, this representation successfully combines naivety and realism.
The quality in the rendering of details, freshness of colors, and realism of faces and expressions, is rare and intriguing, and it evokes an 18th-century miniaturist artist from Northern Italy.


Condition report – The vellum is fully laid down on Japanese paper. The gouache is in very good condition.