Conca, Sebastian

, a very popular artist, was born at Gaeta in 1676. He studied under Solimene, and by persevering practice soon became an able machinist. At little less than forty, the desire of seeing Rome prompted him to visit that city, where he became once more a student, and spent five years in drawing after the antique and the masters of design: but his hand, debauched by manner, refused to obey his mind, till wearied by hopeless fatigue, he followed the advice of the sculptor le Gros, and returned to his former practice, though not without considerable improvements, and nearer to Pietro da Cortona than his master. He had fertile brains, a rapid pencil, and a colour which at first sight fascinated every eye by its splendor, contrast, and the delicacy of its flesh tints. His dispatch was equal to his employment, and there is scarcely a collection of any consequence without its Conca. He was courted by sovereigns and princes, and pope Clement XI. made him a cavaliere at a full assembly of the academicians of St. Luke. He died, far advanced in age, in 1764. Sir Robert Strange, in whose possession was a Virgin and Child," by Conca, observes that, with all his defects, he was a great painter, and must be regarded as one of the last efforts which this expiring art made in Italy. 2


Pilkington. Sir R. Strange’s Catalogue.