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Masinissa Mourning Over the Death of Sophonisba (?)
Finoglia, Paolo Domenico
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Finoglia, Paolo Domenico

Orta di Atella or Naples (Italy), 1590 - Conversano, Puglia (Italy), 1645

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Masinissa Mourning Over the Death of Sophonisba (?)

XVII century. Oil on canvas.
Not on display

Within the large series of paintings dedicated to the history of Rome, this work and Meleager’s Hunt (P2320) belong to a small group of scenes from mythology and the history of Antiquity. This is undoubtedly the most mysterious group in the series -so much so, that the subject matter of some of its paintings has yet to be identified today. Moreover, neither the significance of this group as a whole, nor its relation to the rest of the series is clear.

This is one of the most mysterious works at the Museo del Prado. It has traditionally been attributed to the nonexistent French artist Andreas Leudel (Andrés Leudel, Andrés Lendeli, Andreas Landel), whose name, or something similar, does actually appear on the tray carried by the figure at the extreme lower left of the composition. Since the museum was founded, this work as been described as The Story of the Great Sinovia, Deceased and Imprisoned; Masinissa Mourning Over the Death of Sophonisba or simply Obscure Historical Event. In fact, it must be the painting listed in the 1701 inventory as [no. 279] Another [painting] of the same size and frame, originally by Pablo fenollo With the Story of the queen dido deceased and imprisoned valued at One hundred Doubloons (Charles II’s will). The same occurred with its phantom author, who slowly developed a personality in a variety of publications. His supposed surname -Leudel- convinced those charged with the task of cataloging this work that he was a French artist, and he was assigned a sketchy biography that located his professional activity in the late 17th century.

In recent decades, efforts have been made to establish the existence of a series of paintings related to the History of Rome -including the present work- that Philip IV’s representatives would have commissioned in that city and in Naples around 1634 for the Buen Retiro Palace. Today, twenty-eight extant works can be related to this project (most in the Museo del Prado or Patrimonio Nacional), along with another six mentioned in Charles II’s will but now lost or destroyed. This total of thirty-four paintings constitutes the largest group from the Retiro, including the Hall of Realms. The only larger group consists of mythological scenes that the king’s brother, Cardinal-Infante don Fernando, commissioned Rubens to paint for the Torre de la Parada. The size of the Roman group is the first indication of its importance in the new palace (Text drawn from Úbeda de los Cobos, A. in: El Palacio del Rey Planeta. Felipe IV y el Buen Retiro, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2005, pp. 169-170; 180-182).

Technical data

Inventory number
Finoglia, Paolo Domenico
Masinissa Mourning Over the Death of Sophonisba (?)
XVII century
Height: 235 cm; Width: 356 cm
Historia de Roma Antigua, Palacio del Buen Retiro
Royal Collection (Buen Retiro Palace, Madrid).

Bibliography +

Inventario del Retiro. 1700, Madrid, 1700.

Salas, Xavier de, Museo del Prado. Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1972.

Barghahn, Barbara Von, Philip IV and the Golden House of the Buen Retiro in the Tradition of Caesar, Garland PublishingInc, Nueva York. Londres, 1986, pp. 251/lám. 976.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado. Inventario general de pinturas (I) La Colección Real, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1990, pp. nº1624.

Úbeda de los Cobos, A., El ciclo de la Historia de Roma antigua, En: El Palacio del Rey Planeta, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2005, pp. 169-189.

Úbeda de los Cobos, A., El Palacio del Rey Planeta. Felipe IV y el Buen Retiro, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2005, pp. 180-182.

Goeppert, S., Pablo Picasso. The Illustrated Books : Catalogue Raisonne, Patrick Cramer, Madrid, 2005, pp. 180-182.

Other inventories +

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 1624.
Andres Leudel / 1624. Asunto histórico oscuro. / Una reina yace muerta en su tienda de campaña cubierta con sus magnificas vestiduras, y un joven, al parecer guerrero o general romano, contempla su cadáver como asombrado. Al rededor de la reyna se ven algunas damas que manifiestan en sus diversas actitudes la emoción que les causa aquel suceso. / Pudiera representar a Masinisa llorando la desgracia de la reina Sofonisba, a quien se vio precisado a dar muerte con un veneno por no perder la gracia de Escipion que le restituyo la corona de Numidia. / Alto 8 pies, 4 pulg; ancho 12 pies, 8 pulg.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1854-1858. Núm. 1624.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1872-1907. Núm. 2015.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1910. Núm. 2280.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1942-1996. Núm. 2280.

Update date: 11-04-2022 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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