(Netherlands circa 1600–post 1650)
152.6 x 205.7cm stretcher; 167.5 x 220.0 x 7.0cm frame
In the dazzling comet's tail of painters called the Caravaggisti - the admirers of Caravaggio who kept alive his flame for more than a century - Matthias Stomer stands out for his considered temperament and cool execution. Almost an academic of the movement, though never an imitative hack, Stomer built a body of work on the basis of subjects like this. Antiquity in general and Roman history in particular were his primary source material, reflecting a classicism which had little to do with Caravaggio's own almost exclusively biblical interests. Stomer's 'Mucius Scaevola in the presence of Lars Porsenna' could be seen to anticipate the high moral tone, and consequent sober rendition, found in the works of later neoclassical figures such as David. This painting, after all, posits a test of faith by fire within a resolutely imperial context - precisely David's territory. There is a poorly preserved variant in Messina, datable to this Dutch-born painter's Sicilian period.
AGNSW Handbook, 1999.
Agnew's, London (England, estab. 1817), 24 Apr 1968-24 Apr 1970, London/England, Purchased by the AGNSW from Agnew's 1970
Ettore Viancini (Italy), pre 24 Apr 1968, Venice/Italy, Purchased by Agnew's from Ettore Viancini, 24 April 1968. This was possibly a joint holding, Viancini may also have been a dealer. Agnew's stock number J. 6067
Prince Branciforte di Mazzarino (Italy), 17th century, Caltanissetta/Sicily/Italy
Elvira D'Amico (Italy) (Curator), La pittura nel nisseno, dal XVI al XVIII secolo, Sicily, 2001, 158 (colour illus.), 159 (colour illus.). cat.no. 22, illustration on page 158 is a detail
Edgar Peters Bowron (United States of America) (Author), Mary G. Morton (United States of America) (Author), Masterworks of European Painting in the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, New Jersey, 2000, 68 (illus.). AGNSW work illustrated in reference to 'The Judgement of Solomon' in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Bruce James (Australia) (Author), Edmund Capon (England; Australia, b.1940) (Director), Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, Domain, 1999, 28 (colour illus.).
Norbert Middlekoop (Author), The golden age of Dutch art: seventeenth century paintings from the Rijksmuseum and Australian collections, Perth, 1997, 12 (illus.). fig.8
Palermo Galleria Regionale della Sicilia (Italy) (Author), Pittori del Seicento a Palazzo Abatellis, Milan, 1990, 31, 33 (illus.). fig.15
Peter Tomory (United Kingdom) (Author), Robert Gaston (Author), European Paintings before 1800 in Australian and New Zealand public collections, Sydney, 1989, 132 (illus.). cat.no. 405
Clem Lloyd (Author), Peter Sekuless (Author), Australia's national collections, North Ryde, 1980, 253 (illus.).
'Stomer brought up-to-date' by Benedict Nicolson, The Burlington Magazine Apr 1977, Apr 1977.
Editor Unknown (Editor), Art Gallery of New South Wales picturebook, Domain, 1972, 8 (colour illus.).
'New acquisitions, a Caravaggesque judgement of Solomon' by J.L. Schrader, pg.54-55, Museum of Fine Arts Houston Bulletin Sep 1970, Sep 1970, 55. AGNSW work mentioned in reference to 'The Judgement of Solomon' in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Darkness and Light: Caravaggio & his world, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 29 Nov 2003–22 Feb 2004.
Darkness and Light: Caravaggio & his world, NGV: International, 11 Mar 2004–30 May 2004.