Great exponents of renaissance, baroque and romantic painting on auction
From a private collection made up of authentic museum pieces, Setdart brings together in its Haute Époque online gallery masterpieces by stellar figures from different periods and places: from the Italian Renaissance, Neapolitan Rococo painting, Madrid Baroque and Danish Romanticism.
Let us first mention Portrait of a Girl, attributed to Sofonisba Anguissola, the Cinquecento painter whose name was omitted from art books for centuries, due to the patriarchal bias of traditional historiography.
With a virtuoso technique, of tight brushstroke, Anguissola turned his portraits into pieces of goldsmith’s work, and the portrait on offer at Setdart gives ample proof of this. In every detail, it is comparable to the portraits of royalty painted by the painter from Cremona. It can be compared, for example, with Sofonisba’s painting of Isabella of Valois, wife of Philip II, for whom she was initially maid of honor and, later, official painter of the Spanish court.
There are stylistic and compositional concomitances between Setdart’s portrait and the one in the Prado Museum. In both figures, the black velvet of their costumes is trimmed with precious stones and gold thread trimmings. The snowy facial ovals, illuminated by a subtle glow, are framed by a fine ruff and a tiara of rubies and gold. Even the posture of the figures and the gesture of their hands coincide: Isabel holds a portrait of her husband and the girl rests her hand on a bouquet of flowers.
Sofonisba is an essential painter of the Cinquecento and a rising value for the market and for the history of art, since the revision of historiography has placed her in the place she deserves. Some of her works had been erroneously attributed to Alonso Sánchez Coello, an attribution that the Prado Museum has already refuted, dedicating individual exhibitions and specific studies to the Italian artist.
Another piece worthy of being in a museum and which, in fact, is at the same level as a version of the same preserved in the Prado Museum is Portrait of Charles III, King of the Two Sicilies, by the Neapolitan Giuseppe Bonito. The work shows Charles III dressed in military uniform, wearing a helmet and carrying a flare. In the Prado painting one can appreciate a background that opens to the landscape, while in this case the attention to the figure is accentuated by highlighting it against a neutral background. In both cases the plastic brilliance of Neapolitan Rococo, of which Giuseppe Bonito was one of the greatest exponents, is expressed. The imprint of his exquisite style is evident in the satin color of the sumptuous velvet coat, in the gold thread brocades and in the fine lace on the sleeves.
The delicacy of his portraits opened the doors of the Neapolitan court to Bonito. As a court painter. Around 1745 he portrayed Charles VII of the Two Sicilies, future Charles III of Spain, and his wife Queen Maria Amalia of Saxony in two portraits also kept in the Prado Museum.
Continuing with the creations of chamber painters, see the canvas of Juan Carreño de Miranda St. Bernard BreastfeedingThis is a theme that this distinguished painter of the court of Charles II treated with subtle variations in a painting preserved in the Museum of the parish church of the Collegiate Church of Pastrana. This oil painting, fully baroque in style and execution, narrates the scene of the saint’s life in which the Virgin appeared to him to nourish him with her breast. A mystical triangle is established between Mary, the Child Jesus and the Saint. The richness of the chromatic nuances, the luminosity of the glory break and the tenderness of the plump cherubs are typical of the painter’s plastic work.
Miranda had important ecclesiastical clients, such as the cathedral of Toledo, in addition to being a court painter. Today it is represented in the world’s major museums, from the Hermitage to the Louvre and the Prado.
The Neapolitan Baroque still life school, highly appreciated in the antiquarian market, as well as among collectors and art historians, enjoyed a spectacular development, leaving behind the splendors of the 16th century and progressing within a fully Baroque style in which Gasparo Lopeztogether with Tommaso Realfonso and Nicola Casissa, occupied an unquestionable place.
Precisely, a pair of vases by Gasparo Lopez (nicknamed Gasparo Dei Fiori) is another of the pieces to be highlighted within Setdart’s current tenders. The exuberant bouquets contrast with the simple parapets and vases that hold them.
We now change time and place to admire an iconic painting by the nineteenth-century Danish artist Harald Jerichau, The Plain of Sardis, Asia Minor. In theme and composition, this cornerstone of Danish Romanticism follows the same model as Jerichau’s 1878 painting, The Plain at Sardes, now in the Statens Museum for Kunst in Denmark.
Harald resorted to this view on numerous occasions and popularized the scene, which has even become the cover of Birgitte Fink’s biography of the artist.
In both versions, the sublime landscape transcends the orientalist genre painting, taking us into a subjugating atmosphere. The presence of the columns provides a documentary, almost Vedouist element, but the chromatic warmth takes us into a panoramic view of a quasi-mystical mood, projecting a lyrical vision of Turkey.
As the last piece of our tour through the great works of our high period gallery, all of them coming from a private collection that was forged in slow fire during decades of contrasted research and careful selection, let’s mention a singular pastel with an allegorical theme. Allegory of lustof French school and rococo period, for which the painter was inspired by the still lifes of Johann Rudolph Feyerabend. Symbolism, trompe l’oeil and virtuosity are combined in this enigmatic still life.