»  Truth finding Fortune in the Sea

        by Pietro Liberi

Truth finding Fortune in the Sea




The painting Truth finding Fortune in the Sea is shown here in a black-and-white reproduction.

I took this from a book published in 1958, Number 9 in the series English Miscellany (Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura, Ed. Mario Paz, Rome 1958). There it is listed as being the work of Luca Giordano (1634-1705): "Canvas, 68 × 96½ in.," in the collection of the Duke of Buccleuch (which is pronounced "buh-KLOO").

In The Quarrel of the Age: The Life and Times of William Hazlitt (Phoenix Press, 2000), A.C. Grayling repeats the attribution to Giordano, and places the painting at Dalkeith Palace in the Spring of 1823:  "At Dalkeith Palace [Sarah Stoddart] unexpectedly encountered Hazlitt again … Hazlitt was amazed by one of the pictures at Dalkeith, Truth finding Fortune in the Sea by Luca Giordano …" (p.279 in Grayling's book).

On making an email inquiry to Dalkeith, however, I received this reply from the curatrix there:

I confirm that the painting Truth finding Fortune in the Sea is still in the Buccleuch collection but for a considerable number of years now it has been attributed to Pietro Liberi instead of Luca Giordano. This painting hangs in Drumlanrig Castle but unfortunately we do not have an image which I can send to you. Professional photography could be arranged, with the cost being borne by yourself, but you will realise that this could be quite expensive.

I will indeed. Unless there is a reader out there who is (a) a lover of Baroque art and/or well-upholstered nudes, (b) keen to gratify the whims of an obscure ink-stained wretch like myself, and (c) awash in cash, this not-very-good black-and-white reproduction is the best I shall do. Click on it for a higher-res version, which merely reaches the limit of what can be done with a small book-quality photograph 50 years old and an $80 scanner.

[Added later]  There is no mention of the painting in Ugo Ruggeri's Pietro e Marco Liberi: pittori nella Venezia del Seicento (1996). Nor could I find any reference in the much larger catalogue raisonné for Luca Giordano; though my scrutiny of the latter was hasty, under the pressure of closing time at New York Public Library.