Old Masters Auction, December 10
Outstanding works from the Renaissance, Baroque and Rococo periods coincide in the auction on Thursday, December 10.
Of the most important pieces collected by Setdart in his Alta Epoca online gallery, it is worth mentioning, in the first place, the portrait of the monarch Felipe III made by the Valladolid painter Juan Pantoja de la Cruz (see batch 35119802). The artist translates the regal bearing with singular skill, faithfully describing an outfit characterized by the richness of the qualities and the presence of symbols such as the Golden Fleece, which is arranged on the armor. This one, full of brocades and allegorical allusions, is inspired by the garrisons commissioned in Milan when the monarch was an infant (currently kept in the Royal Armory of the Royal Palace in Madrid). With a long bust and against a background in which the drapery stands out, the work presents aesthetic patterns similar to those seen in the portrait of Felipe III by Juan Pantoja in the Prado Museum.
The work has been expertized by Dr. Dña. María Kusche, expert in Pantoja de la Cruz. The historian certified that this is the complete work of the master, without the intervention of the workshop and that it was conceived, according to the model created in 1606 and most likely destined for a dignitary from the Flemish provinces.
The upcoming Alta Epoca auction will also feature notable still lifes from the Golden Age, Dutch and Spanish authorship. Thus, the “Still Life with Cherries” by the Baroque master from Haarlem Maerten Boelema de Stomme (see lot 35077614) it exhibits great refinement as it accurately translates the transparencies of the cut crystal glass, the brilliance of the smooth skin of the cherries … Glazes and light shades have been masterfully resolved.
Elements typical of the Dutch still life of the former Boelema master, Willem Heda (1594-h. 1680) can be seen in it. In the production of this, the so-called “lunch still lifes” are common, with oysters, peeled fruits that reflect the intervention of the human hand, illusionistic effects with foreshortened elements, a contained sense of color and composition, etc.
Within the genre of the fruit still life, an oil painting from the Madrid school also stands out, also from the Golden Age (see lot 35185085). It is an anonymous painting but whose invoice shows the Castilian affiliation, of masters such as Sánchez Cotán, Juan Bautista de Espinosa and Alejandro Loarte. In our painting, a “Still Life of Pomegranates, Apples, Grapes and Melons”, the pieces of fruit seem to float, suspended in the dark, in a highly balanced composition . The textures include different shades of red, the juice of the open melon or the attractive sparkles of the grape. The modern and sober vision that the Baroque still life reached in Spain make it one of the highest levels of this genre in its time.
De religious theme, it is worth highlighting a “Christ on the way to Calvary” by the Flemish painter Michiel Coxcie (lot 35147256). Considered a key figure in the link between the early Flemings and Rubens’ baroque painting, Coxcie repeatedly dealt with the scene of the Passion of Christ carrying the cross. This time, the perfect combination of Flemish models with a strong and direct influence of Roman examples in this work is clear. Compositively, it is reminiscent in slight details of Coxcie’s work of “Christ with the Cross on His Back” in the Lower Priory Cell of the Monastery of El Escorial (Madrid), being able to speak in this painting of a greater Italian influence.
Finally, we quote two portraits of the Venetian painter Giovanni Battista Piazzetta , Rococo master who on this occasion (see lots 35217160, 35217161) shows great sensitivity in the psychological characterization of both male characters. The studied lighting, with a dark influence, is the main expressive resource used by Piazzetta. It is a focus light that enters in a slanted way and affects the main area of the image, the face and the penetrating gaze of the gentleman, creating expressive chiaroscuro effects and modeling his features with great naturalism, leaving the rest in semi-darkness.