Simon Marmion's Successor
2014 SOLD 3.6 M$ including premium
Simon Marmion was one of the best manuscript illuminators of the second half of the fifteenth century. He managed a workshop in Valenciennes, in the County of Hainaut that went politically and artistically under Burgundian influence. When he died in 1489, Jan Provost married his widow and succeeded him.
On January 29 in New York, Christie's sells an Annunciation painted by Provost around the very first years of the sixteenth century. At that time, the artist had two workshops, in Bruges and Antwerp, and was a member of the guilds in both cities.
The Annunciation was a favorite theme of ancient painting, offering the opportunity to stage a friendly meeting between two young people, kind and charming. This one is much pleasant.
This oil on panel 52 x 40 cm has the anecdotal freshness of an illumination. We admire the detail of the angel wings treated naturalistically like the feathers of a bird, and the quality of the drawing of a small vase with flowers that anticipates by decades the importance of this theme in Flemish art.
The Annunciation is estimated $ 2M, lot 156 in the catalog.
Tritons and Satyrs
Every period has its modern art, non-conformist, in contrast with its predecessors. From the originality of his style andhis talent, Andrea Mantegna is still today a modern artist, by the power of the expression superseding the aesthetics and by the boldness of his perspective.
He was one of the pioneers of artistic engraving. Throughout his career, he was not much interested in color effects.His printed themes are also available in trompe-l'oeil grisailles presented as friezes imitating bas-reliefs.
On April 11 in Munich, Hampel sells as a single lot three paintings in oil and tempera on wood whose alignmentwould form a frieze 150 cm long and 19 cm high. They are monochrome brown with discreet gold lines.
The work features a variety of sea monsters from mythology: tritons, centaurs, dolphins, satyrs. They play all kinds ofmusical instruments with a friendly spirit close to libertinism that would have pleased Jordaens. Correlation with theengraved art of Mantegna is obvious.
The catalog does not advance a date, but this work with powerful figures, liberated from Christian art, may well date from the last years of Mantegna who died in 1506. It may be compared to his most famous grisaille, the Introductionof the cult of Cybele at Rome, another pagan theme.
1504 Michelangelo's Lost Battle
2011 SOLD for £ 3.2 M by Christie's
The theme was chosen: the epic battles of the Florentines against Pisa and Milan. Two large walls were entrusted to the best Italian artists of the period, Leonardo and Michelangelo.
The eldest, Leonardo, 54, chose a heroic scene of the battle of Anghiari, a terrible clash of riders for the control of a standard.
Michelangelo, 29, finds in the Battle of Cascina an excuse to show naked soldiers. Surprised by the enemy while they are bathing in the river, they take various attitudes justified by panic.
24 preparatory drawings for the Battle of Cascina are known. One of them, the only privately owned, is for sale by Christie's in London on July 5. It is a double sided sheet, 21 x 18 cm, estimated £ 3M.
This drawing in black chalk shows on the recto a muscular male back, illustrated on the release shared by AuctionPublicity. The verso includes interspersed sketches.
Michelangelo realized a cartoon of his project, but left almost immediately for Rome. The cartoon was destroyed. Leonardo began the fresco of Anghiari but failed to overcome the technical difficulties and gave up.
1506-1520 A Madonna with Child by Andrea Solario
2008 sold 124 K€ including premium
The estimate is 100 to 150 K€ only for lot 5 of the sale of Finarte in Rome on May 29. It is a tempera and oil on panel by Andrea Solario, 29x24 cm.
Here is the occasion, on the one hand to take you along to Italy, on the other hand to analyze if this estimate, which seems low at first sight, has chances to be exceeded.
The subject, a Madonna col Bambino, is a typical painting of the artist. The date was the subject of various assumptions spreading out according to experts between 1506 and 1520.
An interesting detail: the auction house indicates that this lot is in temporary importation in Italy, with export permitted. It means that the seller made confidence with the Italians to sell it advantageously.
In January 2000, Christie's sold a similar composition, but where the child is active, for 260 K$ before fees (figure provided by Artinfo). It is in the same pictural technique as that of Finarte, and a little larger. The price of the old paintings is more stable than those of the contemporary art, and one can thus consider that these 260 K$ constitute a maximum for our lot. At today's rate, that makes 165 K€.
I did not find another work so close in the history of the sales, I will thus be satisfied with this only example to confirm that the estimate given by Finarte seems well targeted.
POST SALE COMMENT
This painting was sold 124 K € including fees. Coming back to my analysis, I confirm that the low estimate and the price were in line with market realities.
1510 Death of Lucretia attributed to Antonio Lombardo
2020 SOLD for £ 3.7M including premium by Christie's
1510 Massys meets Erasmus question : Who is Mad ?
2009 SOLD 375 K$ including premium
The sale at Christie's, on January 27 in New York, is devoted to the collection of an art scholar, Julius Held. It is an original set, without major work but involving sympathetic and well typed subjects.
The allegory of folly by Quentin Massys is the highlight of the sale. This is an oil on panel 60 x 48 cm, estimated 300 K $.
The fool has mischievous eyes, a prominent beaked nose, huge ass ears and a Polichinelle hunched back. His attributes are also curious: A singing cock lying on his head, a stick whose pommel is a devil who displays his buttocks. This is breathing wit and joy. He makes the gesture of silence, closing his mouth and expressing the irony.
Who is crazy? Is it the fool, or is it everybody else? This is the question posed by Erasmus, at the same time. The Massys painting was made circa 1510, the Praise of Folly was published in 1511. The two men knew each other for nearly twenty years. It is quite the questioning of one of the most important humanist philosophers that the painter represented in this painting.
POST SALE COMMENT
The choices of the collector whose part of the estate was dispersed were popular. In this successful sale, our nice painting obtained a good result: K $ 375 inclusive.
1510-1513 Poor Lucretia
2018 SOLD for $ 2.9M including premium
1516 Fra Bartolommeo, a Friend of Raphael
2009 SOLD 2.15 M£ including premium
A large oil on panel, 149 x 122 cm, estimated £ 2 million, could be the event in upcoming auctions in London. Submitted by Christie's on July 7, it is signed by Fra Bartolommeo and dated 1516.
One year before his death, the Florentine master was familiar with the work of Raphael and Michelangelo. Much better! He had without doubt a great influence on Raphael, a little younger than himself, by the exceptional quality of his drapery and his expressive power of color.
Becoming a Dominican friar after having supported Savonarola, he only accepted orders for religious subjects. Here we see the Virgin and St. Elizabeth encouraging an enthusiastic friendship between the two putti Jesus and John. The scene is placed under a tree before an imaginary landscape.
The colors are nice and neat, the drawing is clean without being too present, the draperies are elegant, the balance of the composition is amazing.
This painting coming from a collection well known since the nineteenth century is a true rarity on the art market at auction. The estimate above is much conservative. For comparison, a double-sided 27 x 19 cm drawing of Fra Bartolommeo, showing studies of heads, had reached $ 1.9 million charge included at Sotheby's on 23 January 2008. I like to believe that Christie's is already preparing a triumphant press release.
POST SALE COMMENT
I continue to believe that this lot was better than its estimate, which it hardly reached. At £ 2.15 million including premium, we assume that the buyer is happy!
1517 Portrait of a Medalist
2016 SOLD for $ 3.25M including premium
Traces of raw wood indicate that this precious work had once a lid, for being used as a portable medallion. This structure is now quite rare, perhaps because such small pictures disappeared. A portrait of Melanchthon made by Holbein around 1530 retains its lid. The portable art was however common during the early Renaissance, including the folding religious triptychs.
The sitter is known: his name was Valerio Belli. He was a medalist and engraver of gems. His face is recognizable, with his Roman nose and broad eyebrows. In his left profile, hair and beard are similar as in a medal self-portrait inscribed Valerius Bellus Vicentinus.
The portrait on wood remained in Vicenza in the families of the medalist and of his executor until 1706. In 1643, the owner indicated a signature F.R. (fecit Raphael) which later disappeared but certainly cannot be a confusion with another painting in that inventory.
The authenticity of that signature by Raphael was not questioned at that time, 97 years after the death of Belli. This family tradition is also supported by an old handwritten inscription on the reverse of the wood indicating Fatto dell'ano 1517 in Rom(.) / Rafael Urbinate. No document proves that Raffaello Sanzio ever met Valerio Belli.
This portrait is considered by experts as an authentic work by Raphael of Urbino while being the only profile portrait by the master. It is estimated $ 2M. I invite you to watch the video shared by Sotheby's.
1520 Virgin and Child by Gossaert
2015 SOLD for £ 4.6M by Sotheby's
Mabuse's work is much varied, but also includes many repetitions of the Virgin and Child, which were arguably for him a significant commercial outlet. The attitudes, with the intrepid Child who would like to escape from the arms of the adoring Mother, seem more inspired by the reliefs of Donatello than by the later phase of the quattrocento.
A Virgin and Child, oil on panel 39 x 27 cm painted around 1520, was sold for £ 4.6M including premium by Sotheby's on December 9, 2015, lot 6. The image is shared by Wikimedia.
Held on the edge of a table by the careful mother, the Child is in an unstable position barely rebalanced by his hand which grips the mother's chin. This composition is bold, and an expert believes that this image had been the left wing of a diptych. If so, he leans forward to communicate with the donor.
The child is beautiful, despite his hair that is too abundant for his age. The mother's garment is ultramarine blue, the most expensive pigment at that time.
1520 A Calvary attributed to Barend van Orley
2008 SOLD 850 K€ before fees
In the category of old paintings, one of the highlights of this season will be sold by Lempertz in Cologne on November 22, lot 1328.
This large oil on panel, 140 x 130 cm, elegantly circumvented, was probably the central part of a triptych for an altar. Two panels that were possibly the wings of the triptych are in a seminary in Cologne.
Christ on the cross is in the background, surrounded by the thieves. The holy women, the donor, a memento mori are composing the foreground with a profusion of details and brilliant colors.
In the mid-nineteenth century, this painting was described as a work of Barend van Orley, but the lack of information on its original localization make contemporary experts more cautious on the attribution. The identification of one of the donor canons allows to date the work to 1520-1525. Barend van Orley painted portraits and religious scenes. He worked in Brussels at the court of Margaret of Austria. He was a contemporary of Raphael, of Dürer and of Cranach.
Uncertainties about the origins are balanced by the iconographic quality and by the large size of the painting, allowing the auction house to expect 1.2 million €.
POST SALE COMMENT
Sold 850 K € excluding charges, this painting has not reached its low estimate (which I announced at € 1 million in my preview).
It is still a very good result. Congratulations to Lempertz.
mid 1520s The Cheeks of St Joseph
2016 SOLD for € 3.9M including premium
Some copies are pierced to ensure an exact reproduction of the lines when executing the final painting. A black chalk drawing by Raphael, perforated for an application on the Vatican frescoes, was sold for £ 29.1M including premium by Christie's on December 8, 2009.
The red chalk or sanguine is also in use. The earliest artist who mixed the two chalks on a same drawing was probably Piero Pollaiuolo around 1470. Fra Bartolommeo followed this technique when he prepared a group of portraits around 1515.
In the abundant work of Andrea del Sarto, only three drawings in two chalks have survived. All three are studies of an old man's head for St. Joseph. Their applications for paintings made by this master in the 1520s have been identified with certainty.
In the following of Fra Bartolommeo, Andrea draws the main lines in black and inserts the sanguine to bring a fleshy effect on cheeks, lips and ears. The drawing is then providing a realistic impression that foresees the actual look of the painting.
One of the three drawings of St. Joseph is preserved at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. Another one, 37 x 23 cm with a leg study in the sanguine on the back side, was sold for £ 6.5M including premium by Christie's on July 5, 2005.
The third drawing, 23 x 18 cm with the study of an eye on the back side, is the most friendly by the straight gaze and cared hair of the old man. It had disappeared after being sold in July 1833 in an auction and was therefore not referred in the essay prepared by Christie's in 2005.
It is estimated over € 500K for sale by Gestas et Carrère in Pau on December 17. Here is the link to the website of the auction house.
The link in the tweet below leads to an essay in French and English published by Interenchères with the collaboration of Gestas et Carrère and of the Cabinet de Bayser, leader in France for the expertise of old master drawings.
1524 A Visit in Arezzo
2019 sold for £ 470k including premium
After the short reign of the austere Adrian VI, the election of a new Medici Pope in November 1523 immediately attracted to Rome the Tuscan artists. Vasari reported the transit by the Rosso in the city of Arezzo on his way to Rome in 1524. A native of Arezzo, Vasari was certainly influenced by this opportunity to highlight his hometown.
In Arezzo, the Rosso visits a painter named Giovanni Antonio Lappoli who had just been commissioned for an important private altar. Lappoli is a lesser artist. The Rosso pulls him out of trouble by making a preparatory sketch for him.
The 12.6 x 12 cm black chalk drawing has been identified after being undetected for several centuries due to an incorrect attribution to Michelangelo. It is estimated £ 500K for sale by Sotheby's in London on July 3, lot 307. Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
On the theme of the Visitation, this drawing shows ten characters on a staircase. They are naked according to the usual practice at that time for the preparatory drawings of paintings. Despite its small size, it is exquisitely done, with a light effect that invites the use of bright colors in the final work.
Lappoli actually used the sketch. Some characters have been substituted in the altar painting, probably at the request of the patron. It is still in Arezzo.
The Rosso had taken a great care when creating this drawing which deserved Vasari's praise. However he did not create an original work for his friend : his Marriage of the Virgin painted in the previous year staged a similar group on the same staircase.
1525 Flemish Adorations
2021 SOLD for $ 3.17M including premium
Pieter Coecke van Aelst, whose name indicates that he was a native of Aalst, was apprenticed to Jan van Dornicke whose daughter he married in 1525. He brought into the Flemish style the Italian influence, with a more dramatic action, architectural elements inspired by antiquity and the Venetian quality in the painting of the fabrics. Coecke runs the workshop after the death of his father-in-law in 1527.
On January 29 in New York, Sotheby's sells a Flemish triptych in oil painting, lot 103 estimated $ 2.5M. This piece is in excellent condition in its original frame. The central panel, 105 x 70 cm, is an Adoration of the Magi. The side panels, 105 x 30 cm, are a Nativity animated by many angels and a Presentation in the Temple including interesting liturgical details.
The subject is not sufficient to propose an attribution, although van Dornicke's death is probably the terminus ante quem of this arrangement of the three themes. Italian influence makes prefer Coecke during the short period when he worked for his father-in-law.
The work of Pieter Coecke van Aelst was abundant and varied. He was related to Goltzius by his second marriage. He translated Vitruvius into Flemish. His widow will influence Pieter Bruegel. She had a great role in Flemish art by providing the artistic education to her grandsons Pieter Brueghel the Younger and Jan Brueghel the Elder.
#AuctionUpdate: This impressive triptych by Pieter Coecke van Aelst, in excellent condition & presented with its original frame, soars to $3.2m – a new auction record for the artist. The work was the centerpiece of a monographic exhibition on the artist at The Met Museum in 2014. pic.twitter.com/E14a7nh9DE— Sotheby's (@Sothebys) January 29, 2021
ca 1520s Dragon and Child
2019 SOLD for € 2.3M including premium
His Madonna and Child with Saint George and an Angel is a complex narrative work. Four examples of this painting are known. It was probably conceived in the 1520s, a period of greater maturity of the artist, after the death of Leonardo.
Four characters are closely grouped in the foreground. The Child on the lap of his Mother puts a foot on the head of the decapitated dragon, symbol of Evil, and presents the palm to St George. The face of the Virgin is in the style of Leonardo. Quiet and kind, she does not show an interest in the dramatic scene that happens in front of her. An angel plays the lute. Further on, the white horse of the saint is staying beside the headless body of the monster.
An oil on panel 104 x 80 cm, already correctly attributed to Luini, was since the 1870s in the Cook collection. In 1900 the collector buys from his expert Charles Robinson a Salvator Mundi by the same artist. The experts will attribute it much later to Leonardo. It was sold for $ 450M including premium by Christie's on November 15, 2017.
The scene with St George was sold for £ 173K including premium by Christie's on July 6, 2017. Its new owner cleared it of a recent yellow varnish that blemished faces and clothings. The repaints were removed to better reveal the beautiful original pigments and this piece appears again as an original artwork by Luini.
It is estimated € 1.8M for sale by Aguttes in Paris (Hôtel Drouot) on November 14, lot 60. Here is the link to the press release shared by Drouot. Please watch the video shared by Aguttes. The image shared by Wikimedia comes from the 2017 Christie's sale.
1525 Nativities by Bernardino Luini
In 1550 Vasari recognized his honesty and courtesy but failed to correctly transcribe his name, which contributed to plunge him into oblivion. Bernardino was however a gifted artist who reached his greatest maturity in the 1520s and died in 1532.
The Nativities are one of his favorite themes. On December 15 in London, Christie's sells a tempera and oil on panel 120 x 90 cm, lot 22 estimated £ 3M.
The work is composed in two scenes. In the foreground the Child is adored by his mother and by Joseph, in the presence of the ox and the donkey. The background is a scene from the Flight into Egypt. The dark surrounding in the manger highlights the naked body of the Child and the faces of the adults, in a pleasant iconography. A date around 1525 is plausible.
With a barely older Child, a presentation by St George of the slain dragon is similarly told in two registers. This oil on panel 104 x 80 cm was sold for € 2.3M including premium by Aguttes on November 14, 2019.
#WhatIsAClassic – Head of Old Masters Evening Sale, Clementine Sinclair explains: 'The Luini is one of the finest religious paintings by the Milanese artist, who was inspired by Leonardo, to remain in private hands.' #ClassicWeekLondon https://t.co/QDnO0cBy2S pic.twitter.com/vyJVf7Edq5— Christie's (@ChristiesInc) December 12, 2020
1525-1530 The Funerary Angels of Fugger the Rich
2019 SOLD for € 2.35M including premium
With one of his brothers and also in the name of another brother recently deceased, Jakob the Rich has built in Augsburg from 1509 to 1512 a chapel in the style of Italian funerary architecture, which is an innovation for that time in Germany. For the decoration of this grandiose monument, he calls on the best German artists : Dürer, Burgkmaier, Breu, Hans Daucher. He dies in 1525.
The furnishing of this chapel is scattered between 1817 and 1821 under a pretext of modernization. It included an alignment of beige limestone putti about 30 cm high carved by Daucher, grouped in pairs on a marble balustrade. The total number of original putti is not identified.
Each statuette shows a baby-faced angel leaning on a sphere that symbolizes the vanity of earthly occupations. They are different one another in terms of facial expression, hairstyle, leg position, allegorical meaning.
In 1921 the Fugger family decides to restore the chapel. An active search leads to five putti distributed in several neighboring gardens. They are now kept at the Maximilian Museum in Augsburg.
Two other putti have just been found in the château de Beaurepaire at Martinvast near Cherbourg, where their presence had never been identified. The provenance is however understandable : the castle was bought in 1867 by the banker Arthur de Schickler for his project of an extravagant neo-Gothic residence with a Moorish park.
The Martinvast putti do not form a pair together but separately with two specimens of the Maximilian Museum. Having escaped in their attic the degradations of an outdoor storage, they keep intact the sharpness of the carving by the master. They remain together as lot 35 for sale by Sotheby's in Paris on May 16. The catalog proposes a date around 1525-1530.
#AuctionUpdate Les magnifiques putti, chefs-d’œuvre de la Renaissance allemande atteignent 2.3 millions €. Oeuvres de Hans Daucher, vers 1525-1530, ils ornaient autrefois la chapelle de la prestigieuse famille Fugger à Augsbourg #SothebysDecArts pic.twitter.com/V3l2mFQro2— Sotheby's France (@SothebysFr) May 16, 2019
< 1530 The Limoges Aeneid
2020 SOLD for £ 800K including premium
This series probably occupied in full time an enamel painter for several years in the family workshop of Nouailher or Pénicaud. It was not documented in period.
The edition for Brant consisted of 215 illustrations covering the twelve books of the poem. 82 enamels of the Aeneid of Limoges have been found. The absence of images of the last three books shows that the artist was working in the sequence of the poem and that the work was stopped. The absence of a duplicate shows that he was working for a single project.
The scenes in Limoges follow Brant's illustration very closely. Understanding the action is facilitated by text bubbles identifying the characters. Aeneas and his companions, who come from Troy, have orientalist costumes. The style is medieval, but with more flexible lines than the original image.
Each picture is enamel painted on a 22 x 20 cm copper plaque. Gold heightening and thick white bring contrast and volume.
The terminus post quem is 1520, when the front sides of the Limoges plates begin to be prepared with a layer of silver which brightens up the colors. The back side is also protected by a silver foil. The terminus ante quem could be 1530 when the Gothic style goes out of fashion.
Four plaques brought together from several sources by a collector will be sold by Sotheby's in London on December 5, lot 31, lot 32, lot 33, lot 34. They respectively illustrate episodes of books II, III, IV and VIII. Each lot is estimated £ 240K.
On July 9, 2014, Sotheby's sold for £ 1.54M including premium a group of six plaques from Book VIII assembled as two rows in a single frame 65 x 82 cm, lot 2.
SOLD for £ 800K, 520K, 740K and 800K including premium
1530 Early Preaching
2018 SOLD for $ 3.4M including premium
He then settled in Middelburg and spread Mannerist tastes in Holland and Flanders. His mythological nudes are daring for the time. He paints many portraits.
On December 9, 2015, Sotheby's sold for £ 4.6M including premium a Virgin and Child painted around 1520 on 39 x 27 cm panel.
Mary is a young woman in an attitude of quiet adoration. All the Mannerism is in the attitude of the naked child ready to escape from the hands of his mother for convincing the world. The child's hand catching the chin of his mother creates an emotional link although he does not look at her.
Later the child becomes exuberant. He is displayed at the same early age but his attitude has become a preaching with a speaking mouth and a raised arm. His skills exceeding his apparent age are confirmed by the aging of his musculature and hair. The thoughtful mother is no longer smiling.
This oil on panel 45 x 34 cm painted around 1530 was sold for CHF 2.37M including premium by Koller on March 28, 2014. It had been discussed in this column before the sale. It is estimated $ 3M for sale by Christie's in New York on April 19, lot 48. The image is shared by Wikimedia.
1530 Resurrection by Cranach
2021 SOLD for $ 2.2M by Christie's
On April 22, 2021, Christie's sold for $ 2.2M from a lower estimate of $ 800K an oil on panel 54 x 38 cm, lot 12. This picture is signed by Cranach with his serpent device and dated 1530.
The composition is closely inspired by a print from the Small Passion series made 20 years before by Dürer, but the attitude of the main character has been changed from stiff to more human.
The tweet below is illustrated with the upper part of the image.
1531 A Modello for Doria
2011 sold 780 K$ including premium
In the interior decoration of the Renaissance, the tapestry was as important or even more than fresco or painting. Thedifficulties of textile conservation made lost much of the ambience of high luxury of that time.
The tapestries designed by Raphael for the Vatican were famous. One of his direct students, Perino del Vaga, receivedan order for a series of tapestries for the palace of Andrea Doria in Genoa.
The theme, entitled Furti di Giove, confirms that one had some good time at the court of Genoa. The king of the godsran behind all the freshies of his mythological time. The tapestries were woven in Flanders between 1532 and 1535and then vanished, old-fashioned and certainly worn out, one century and a half later.
The cartoons did not survive. Only a few remaining fragments of preparatory drawings were recorded when a fullmodello has resurfaced from oblivion. This large drawing in pen, ink and wash, 44 x 40 cm, was intended to presentthe draft to the patron, about 1531.
An architected border introduces into an alcove where the naked Jupiter and Juno recline. They look serious, but we can assume that the god appeared in a more sympathetic attitude during his extramarital affairs. They are surroundedand excited by a bunch of hyperactive Cupids.
The relationship with the art of tapestry makes this image an important and valuable link for understanding thedecorative arts of that time. The drawing is estimated $ 600K, for sale by Sotheby's in New York on January 26.
POST SALE COMMENT
This uncommon drawing was sold $ 780K including premium. Despite its cultural importance, it was not a foregone conclusion.
1535 The Court Fool of Anne Jagiellon
2017 SOLD for £ 2.17M including premium by Sotheby's
This portrait is part of the interest in madness and deformities that follows the Praise of folly by Erasmus. The wrinkled face is ordinary, maybe Lappish or Gypsy. The simplified design of the gown in the same colors as the conical clown hat and the imitation of a gold brocade on the collar reveal that she is an actress. She carries a paper of which she is certainly the messenger. The amused smile suggests that she knows the content.
Rings hang in groups on the cord necklace, probably by reference to a magic trick. Only one other illustration from the same period includes a similar piece of jewelry. This latter artwork identifies the model as Elisabet Stulta (Foolish Elisabeth).
The portrait of Elisabet is a copy that was already in the collection of Archduke Ferdinand of Tyrol, son of Emperor Ferdinand of Habsburg and Anne Jagiellon. The painting sold by Sotheby's had some revisions in the drawing, revealed by infrared inspection. It is an original portrait, perhaps of the same woman, probably taken from life.
Fools, jugglers and buffoons had an important role at court but not enough for it to be documented, with some notable exceptions such as Triboulet at the same period in France. Elisabet was probably a female jester to Anne Jagiellon who was queen consort of Bohemia and Hungary from 1526 and also of Germany from 1531.
From its Erasmian theme, an attribution to Massys or to Cranach the Elder tempted experts in the 19th century, but the ill-proportioned hands were not painted by a top master. The current hypothesis, far from being demonstrated, is that it is a work by Jan Sanders van Hemessen around 1525 in his training period, during the lifetime of Massys. Massys and van Hemessen were Flemish : we should rather look for a painter in Prague or Vienna around 1535. Jakob Seisenegger has been suggested as the original artist of the Elisabet Stulta.
1535 Madonnas with a Long Neck by Parmigianino
2009 SOLD 780 K€ including premium
This artist was named Francesco Mazzola. According to a common custom in his time, he was called according to the name of his hometown, Parma. He is therefore especially known as il Parmigianino.
Painter, fresco maker, draftsman, etcher, he practiced all the graphic techniques of his time mostly to represent religious subjects. He was among the first to distort the body, starting with his own: his self portrait in a convex mirror, a work of his youth (he was 20 years old, 1523-1524), attests to his interest in the study of forms.
His most frequent subject was the Virgin and Child, to which he gave a rather disturbing look. The Madonna is characterized by a long and fragile neck and it is hard to imagine why he did it so. The child, although naked in the arms of his mother, is no longer a baby. Could we see in Parmigianino a precursor of the great extensions of Greco? Certainly not, as some examples of his art show a horizontal elongation of the child that contradicts the vertical extension of the mother.
No matter that these works are no longer in the fashion of our time, they had their role in art history.
The Madonna with the long neck that is at the Uffizi Museum in Florence is one of his largest paintings (2.16 x 1.32 m), dated 1535. On March 25, Sotheby's sells in Paris a preparatory drawing for this painting. An estimated 500 K €.
1537 Shame and Pain onto the Honey Thief
2013 SOLD 2.2 M£ including premium
Cranach the Elder reuses this fable from 1527 with more subtlety. He is the master of the use of the female nude in moralizing allegories. Not far from displeasing his patron Luther, his sensual nudes leave some doubt between erotic expression and resistance to temptation. The quiet stag often in the background invites to the latter religious interpretation.
The three oils on panel that I discuss below have the same size, 51 x 35 cm, assessing that this theme was during more than ten years one of the most regular productions from this artist.
The earliest is dated 1532. It was sold for 16 MF including premium (€ 2.4M) by Rouillac on June 10, 2001. The attitudes are mannerist, although the bees have already begun to attack. Venus is not interested in the child. The epigram, however, leaves no doubt about the interpretation.
Dated 1537, the painting for sale by Bonhams in London on December 4, is more dramatic. It is estimated £ 1.5 M. Cupid is anguished by a dozen bees stinging his naked body and asks for help. Venus reaches out over the child's head but looks in another direction, as if to convince the viewer that the scoundrel is receiving what he deserved.
In 1538, Venus looks at Cupid. Her attitude is didactic, and the child tries to understand. Curiously, this ultimate stage of the story has no inscription. It was sold for 17.2 MF before fees (€ 2.6 M) by Rieunier et Bailly-Pommery on December 4, 2000.
POST SALE COMMENT
Good result for Venus and the young thief : £ 2.2M including premium.
I invite you to play the video shared by Bonhams :
1537 The Symbol of the Nude by Cranach the Elder
The women painted by Cranach the Elder are cute, even when they are naked. This theme may seem surprising at a time when Luther wanted to reform the morals. In fact, goddesses, nymphs, the Graces or the Lucretias become symbols of innocence, virtue and fertility.
On November 7 in Paris, Audap et Mirabaud sell a Nymph at the spring.
Lying on her back, the beauty is sleepy. Her nakedness is barely protected by a gauze. A Latin inscription at the top left supports the message: "Do not interrupt the sleep of the nymph of the sacred spring." A couple of birds is peckingaround.
The coat of arms of the artist enables to date this painting on panel after 1537. Here are its dimensions: 49 x 74 cm.
It is illustrated in the article shared by Le Figaro, and announced with an estimate of € 3M.
Saint Anthony Abbott by Sebastiano del Piombo
2021 SOLD for $ 3.15M by Christie's
1541-1543 Cranach the Younger dresses the Modern Woman ... of his Time
2007 SOLD 1.8 M£ including premium by Christie's
2011 SOLD 1.4 M£ including premium
I republish below my previous article after having updated the information of the sale. On December 7 in London , Sotheby's sells an oil on panel by Cranach the Younger, 62 x 39 cm.
The painting shows the portrait of a richly dressed lady, with an exuberant embroidered black hat. In the press release (of January sale) and in the catalog, the auction house draws attention to the resemblance between this work and the famous colorful linocut print by Picasso titled Buste de femme d'après Cranach le jeune.
The painting for sale is dated 1541 or 1543, well within the period of collaboration between father and son. The other portrait, very similar in composition, which inspired Picasso, was later (1564).
The homage of a modern artist to one of his distant predecessors can not keep indifferent an art historian. The choice of Velazquez by Dali, of the Cranachs by Picasso, becomes a valuable reference for appreciating the evolution of art (voluntarily I do not add the choice of Mona Lisa by Duchamp).
Indeed the portraits and Venus by the Cranachs have an expressive and psychological strength that bring them into the precursors of modern art.
The lot for sale is estimated £ 800K after being sold £ 1.8 million including premium at Christie's on July 5, 2007. Here is the link to the new catalogue.
POST SALE COMMENT
This portrait did not reach its price of 2007, but now it was sold : £ 1.4M including premium.
1542 Holbein at the Court of Henry VIII
2015 SOLD for £ 960K including premium
In 1536, a lull interrupts this turmoil with the hope that the new queen Jane Seymour brings an heir to the king. Holbein was commissioned to paint a mural for the king's chamber at Whitehall Palace.
Completed in the following year, this work shows the king, his wife and his parents. Henry VIII is very satisfied with the achievement and the artist is salaried, which does not mean that he will have a further access to the king. Many copies of this masterpiece will be made which is a luck because the original was destroyed in a fire in 1698.
The figure of the king is remarkable. In the German style, Holbein has removed the direct attributes of royalty so that Henry is only highlighted by his majestic and authoritarian attitude and by his sumptuous clothing.
On July 8 in London, Sotheby's sells a portrait of the king, oil on panel 93 x 67 cm dated 1542, lot 7 estimated £ 800K. The image is shared by Wikimedia.
Henry is featured in mid length. His face has not aged but we know that Holbein was working from drawings and his studies from 1537 were probably still usable. The king is dressed in a great luxury, with a red velvet surcoat and a doublet brocaded in gold and silver.
The artist was skilled. The magnitude of the garment hides the obesity and the physical weakness of the king whose attitude is as arrogant as ever. This image was also copied. The scarcity of the artistic documents of the time does not enable to formally attribute it to Holbein.
The date 1542 is significant. The fifth consort queen of that reign, Catherine Howard, had just fallen for adultery and her family was threatened with spoliation. This painting is now sold by the Howards, who maybe had owned it from the origin. A prolific portrait painter, Holbein had also worked with the Howards.
The royal portrait may have been commissioned by the old Thomas Howard 3rd Duke of Norfolk, one of the most intriguing courtiers, to facilitate a reconciliation with the king.
1542 woman in black in augsburg
2017 sold for £ 790k including premium
The fortune of the Fugger family has become legendary. Nobody was wealthier than the bankers of Charles V. They resided in Augsburg that was for many years a capital city of good taste, famous for its silversmiths.
History also retained the name of a close adviser of Fugger, Matthäus Schwarz. One of the most original minds of his time, he was one of the first modern economists and paid a particular attention to the evolution of his own clothes by considering that their history marked his biography.
For the 35th birthday of his wife Barbara on 21 August 1542, Schwarz ordered her portrait adorned with astrological indications to the leading painter of Augsburg, Christoph Amberger, known as a portraitist of Emperor and Fugger.
Amberger belongs to the post-Dürer generation. Sitters pose with patience in an attitude that reveals their temperament. In this oil on panel 72 x 61 cm, Barbara Schwarz is seen at mid-length with rich embroidered and laced clothing that honor her husband's hobby. She holds a piece of silverware.
Another example of the humanistic quality of the art in that period is the portrait of the merchant Baldinger painted in Nuremberg in 1545 by Georg Pencz, one of the best successors to Dürer. This oil on panel 135 x 118 cm was sold for £ 5.6 million including premium at Christie's on July 6, 2010.
Please watch the video shared by Sotheby's from their new 'The Costumist' video series. Sotheby's catalogue and Ms O'Reilly in the video comment that the black dye was very expensive : a black dress was a symbol of the utmost wealth.