The legacy of the Old Masters and private collecting: An eye-opening auction at Setdart.

Museums and institutions play an irreplaceable role in the preservation of our historical heritage, working diligently to document, restore and exhibit works of art that are fundamental to defining our cultural identity. However, there is an equally invaluable artistic treasure that lies in private hands, a substantial part of our history that has been safeguarded by passionate collectors. Through this collecting, we have been fortunate to receive some of the most outstanding masterpieces, thus rewriting art history and sharing it with the world. The work of patrons and collectors is essential to understanding art conservation.

In our next catalog of Old Masters auctions at Setdart, we want to highlight how private collecting has played a crucial role in enhancing the value of this artistic legacy. Each piece tells a unique story and represents the intimate connection between the collector and the work he or she has chosen to preserve. This auction is not only an opportunity to acquire exceptional pieces, but also to reflect on the importance of those who have assumed the role of passionate guardians of art.

“Cristo cargando con la Cruz” de B.E. Murillo procedente del Convento de la Merced de Sevilla.

If it were not for the brave collectors of the past, masterpieces such as Bartolomé Esteban Murillo’s “Christ Carrying the Cross” might have disappeared into the darkness of time. This particular lot, commissioned for the Convent of La Merced in Seville, as referred to by Don Enrique Valdivieso, was kept by its owners for two centuries, after the institution was disentailed in 1835 and its contents were put up for public sale.

An exceptional portrait of Isabella of Bourbon, modeled after Rubens, has its own fascinating history. It belonged to the collection of the renowned painter and humanist Valentín de Carderera, who worked in the service of Isabel II and was a member of the Royal Academy of San Fernando and the Board of the Prado Museum, where he left a large part of his collection.

Retrato de Isabel de Borbón y su fotografía durante la Junta Central del Tesoro en 1936 .

These pieces are not just works of art; they are witnesses to history. Labels, stamps and inscriptions on the canvases offer clues that allow us to trace their past. From the Murillo that passed through the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum to the François Clouet that was saved during the Civil War in Barcelona by the Junta, each work has its own unique narrative.

Retrato de Madame de Villeroy .

We invite you to immerse yourself in this exciting journey through works by Snyders, Seghers, Baburen, Arellano, Maíno and Clouet. In this auction, the works are presented at their finest, offering not only exceptional pieces but also a vibrant connection to our rich visual heritage. To all art lovers and collectors, we urge you to participate in this unique opportunity to be part of history by acquiring pieces that tell stories that have endured through the centuries.

External references to Roman urns

Prado Museum