About this artwork

This violent subject became popular during the early part of the seventeenth century, particularly among the followers of Caravaggio, whose influence is visible here in the dramatic lighting and bold foreshortenings. The attribution of this picture has been much debated, but its close connection to a painting of Cain Fleeing from the Body of Abel formerly in the Corsini collection in Florence and now in the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica in Rome, has long been recognised. That picture has recently been convincingly attributed to the Sicilian Pietro Novelli, an attribution that applies equally well to this work.

Updated before 2020

  • artist:
  • title:
    Cain Killing Abel
  • date created:
    Second quarter of 17th century
  • materials:
    Oil on canvas
  • measurements:
    190.00 x 143.00 cm (framed 211.70 x 164.60 x 9.20 cm)
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    Presented to the RI by Sir Alexander Crichton 1833; transferred 1859
  • accession number:
    NG 21
  • gallery:
  • photographer:
    Antonia Reeve
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Pietro Novelli

Pietro Novelli