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    Juan de las Roelas (Spanish, 1558-1624)
    The Martyrdom of Saint John the Evangelist, circa 1595-1600
    Oil on canvas
    59-1/2 x 42 inches (151.1 x 106.7 cm)

    Property from the Estates of Ramon Osuna and Robert Lennon, Washington, D.C.

    The present work was ascribed to Juan de Roelas on May 9, 1996, by Professor Enrique Valdivieso González according to the catalogue accompanying the New York, Christie's sale, January 29, 1999, see lot 19. Professor Valdivieso is the author of a monograph on the painter and organized a monographic exhibition on Roelas in 2008 (see E. Valdivieso, Juan de Roelas, Seville, 1978; exh. cat., Seville, Museo de Bellas Artes, Juan de Roelas, h. 1570-1624, 2008-2009).

    Juan de Roelas is best known for several multifigured, monumental altarpieces executed for churches and monasteries in Seville and the surrounding area. Examples, done in a vibrant, early Baroque style, are in the Museo de Bellas Artes, Seville, and include Saint Anne Teaching the Virgin Mary to Read (c. 1612) and The Martyrdom of Saint Andrew (c. 1615). Juan was assumed to have trained in Seville, but, according to two notarial documents of 1584, he and his painter father, "Jacques de Roelas," then in Valladolid (northwest of Madrid), are mentioned as having come originally from Flanders. Moreover, in the past, Juan had been confused with a Carmelite friar of the same name, Fray Juan de Roelas (1561-1632), who is documented at Seville. (On this subject, see Antonia Fernández de Hoyo, "Juan de Roelas, pintor flamenco,' Boletín del Museo Nacional de Escultura, No. 4, 2000, pp. 25-27.)

    The present painting was dated by Professor Valdivieso to c. 1615, that is to the time of his mature, advanced production, as described above. Instead, it bears far closer comparison to his earliest known work, an engraving of the Raising of the Cross, which is signed and dated 1597 (see illus.). That composition and the present one include the same agitated figures who, in a multitude of contrapposto poses, vigorously vie for the viewer's attention. A telltale physiognomic trait of the participants is a small snub nose. In publishing Roelas's print for the first time, Diego Angulo Iñiguez notes how the dwarf at lower right repeats a figure appearing in the same location in one of the paintings then in Spanish royal collections: Veronese's Finding of Moses, now in the Museo nacional del Prado, Madrid (see D. Angulo Iñiguez, "Juan de las Roelas: aportaciones para su studio," Archivo español de arte y arqueologia, I, 1925, pp. 104-105).

    Estimate: $12,000 - $18,000.

    Condition Report*: Lined canvas. Frame abrasion at edges, with some associated gilding transfer at upper edge. Yellowing to the varnish layer. Craquelure throughout. A diagonal line of repaired cracking across upper left corner. A very few scattered pinpoint losses. Not examined out of frame due to size.
    Under UV: varnish fluoresces green unevenly. Brushy retouching to address aforementioned frame abrasion at edges. Retouching to aforementioned repair in upper left corner, also visible to the naked eye. Scattered retouching throughout, particularly to the background, sky, and edges. Retouching applied to the forehead, cheek, and neck, as well as in a diagonal line across the proper left knee and thigh of the rightmost putto. Retouching to the stomach and proper left wrist and leg of the leftmost putto. Comparatively little retouching to the central figures. A horizontal line of retouching extending outward from the proper right eye of the figure at left, in white shirt and carrying firewood. Dots of retouching to shoulders and back of shirtless man at front left, stoking the fire. Strengthening applied to eagle standard, faintly visible above the head of the woman in center background.
    Framed Dimensions 70.5 X 51 X 4 Inches
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. Heritage does not guarantee the condition of frames and shall not be liable for any damage/scratches to frames, glass/acrylic coverings, original boxes, display accessories, or art that has slipped in frames. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

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    12th Friday
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