August 27, 2013
A POWERFUL 18th CENTURY OLD MASTER PORTRAIT
Anton Raphael Mengs (Aussig 1728-1779 Rome): PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST’S FATHER ISHMAEL ISRAEL MENGS
“One of the precursors to Neoclassical painting”
Anton Raphael Mengs (Aussig 1728-1779 Rome) PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST’S FATHER ISHMAEL ISRAEL MENGS (1668-1765), oil on paper laid on artist’s board, 49 x 37 cm.; 63 x 51 cm. in frame. “N 10” (Gallery Mark) and various sketches to verso of board. Provenance: Private collection in Great Britain ca. 1970, then the Shepherd Gallery in New York. Listed in: Steffi Roettgen, Anton Raphael Mengs: 1728-1779: Das malerische und zeichnerische Werk, vol. I, Munich, 1999, pp. 291-292, No. WK 4. At one time considered autograph, the painting is now listed as an oil version of Meng’s pastel portrait of his father in Dresden. It is also possible that this oil is a Self-Portrait by Ishmael Israel Mengs himself, done with an artist’s convex mirror as the model for several versions by his gifted son and daughter. [SOLD]
“Anton Raphael Mengs (1728-1779) was born in Bohemia now Czech Republic. He accompanied his father, who was a painter, in Rome and Dresden where he became a successful portrait painter. “[V&A] The elder Mengs was one of the very few openly Jewish artists practicing in the courts of Eastern Germany, where both his daughter and son also began to paint. Eventually, Anton Raphael converted to Catholicism in Rome in order to marry an Italian woman and to gain patronage at the Vatican. He finished his career in Madrid, where he also wrote several important treatises on art and aesthetics which were published in German, Italian and English editions. He was a friend of Winkelmann’s, whose portrait he also painted, as well as several English aristocrats resident in Italy.
” Mengs came to share Winckelmann’s enthusiasm for classical antiquity, and worked to establish the dominance of Neoclassical painting. At the same time, however, the influence of the Roman Baroque remained strong in his work, particularly in his religious paintings. He would have fancied himself the first neoclassicist, while in fact he may be the last flicker of Baroque art.” [Wikipedia]
posted in: Old Master Painting, Uncategorized
January 28, 2012
THE MOST ACCOMPLISHED DESIGNER OF PLAQUETTES IN RENAISSANCE ITALY
AN ARTIST THAT INFLUENCED DURER AND MICHELANGELO
GALEAZZO MONDELLA, called MODERNO (c.1467-1528/9). Plaquette : Saint Sébastien. Mondella Galeazzo, Moderno (after). [s.d, s.l., ; c. Very Early 16th Century, North Italian.] After a model attributed to Moderno before 1487. Cast Bronze Plaquette. 76 x 55 mm. Minor casting flaws in field, pierced; else sharp, almost Very Fine, attractive patina and color. Ref: Kress 154, Lewis II (Lewis, D. ‘The Plaquettes of ‘Moderno’ and his Followers’, Studies in the History of Art, 21, Washington DC, 1987) [SOLD]
Moderno was one of the most admired Renaissance designers of small bronze plaquettes which explored religious or antique themes. Humanist collectors kept these in their study for contemplation as well as affixed them to objects for a functional decorative use. The plaquette for sale here is a very handsome early 16th century bronze cast, and an example from the earlier part of Moderno’s oeuvre when his work was modeled on Mantegna (especially during Mantegna’s period in Mantua, when Moderno may have had access to his studio) rather than his later Roman classical influenced designs. Moderno’s plaquettes were extremely influential, especially in the Veneto, Emilia and Lombady regions. Farther afield, Albrecht Durer and Hans Holbein copied his designs, as well as French Renaissance artists, one of the best creations of which (David and a Companion with the Dead Goliath) provided Michelangelo with the a model for a figure for his Last Judgement in the Sistine Chapel.
Additional online references: See Havard Fogg Museum
Also, the Plaquette in the Musée du Louvre
posted in: Uncategorized
January 28, 2012
CIRCLE OF OR ATTR. to Lodovico Cardi known as Cigoli (1559-1613)The Head:”Scorticato “Head (échorché; flayed head). Possibly Attr. Lodovico Cardi known as Cigoli (1559-1613) [s.d. s.l; Florence, circa late 16th century]. Calcined gypsum/Plaster. Size (On base approx. 23 cm, Head Only 13 cm.) Ecorché statuettes, or flayed anatomic models, were popular during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. [SOLD]
posted in: Uncategorized
May 24, 2010
The Famous “OLD MAN SHADING HIS EYES WITH HIS HAND”
REMBRANDT HARMENSZ. VAN RIJN 1606-1669. “OLD MAN SHADING HIS EYES WITH HIS HAND” (BARTSCH, HOLLSTEIN 259; HIND 169; BIORKLUND 38-3) etching with drypoint, circa 1639, a fine, sharp impression, 131 x 102 mm.
Why Rembrandt left this enigmatic print unfinished had been the subject of considerable scholarly debate. Rembrandt broke from his usual practice of developing the setting before the figure; here the figure was attended to first and left floating amidst a cloud of loosely drawn lines. Some scholars have speculated that Rembrandt may have been commercially motivated, purposely leaving a print unfinished for a market that commanded premiums for early proofs and first states. However, it is more likely that an artist interested in human nature, the frailty of man, the effect and importance of light, and the vulnerability of sight, may have been merely interested in depicting the simple beauty of an old man blinded by the harsh sun.
posted in: Old Master Prints, Uncategorized
May 24, 2010
Preserved with the Extremely Rare Medieval Wrought Iron Chain Still Intact
[Medieval Money Box][Alms Box] Wood (Oak) and Iron, circa 1450, Netherlands. 25 cm. tall with an additional 51 cm. iron chain attached with fittings. Some minor wood loss, but well preserved with the original chain still intact (a great rarity). The box is locked with the key presumably rattling inside.
Such money or alms boxes often collected funds for local hospitals as well as churches, in keeping with a Christian’s religious duty to donate money for the poor. Boxes were opened about once a month with the contents counted and handed over to a hospital secretary or priest.
At the St. Nicholas Hospital in Kent is preserved as an example, the famous “Erasmus money or alms box”. “When Erasmus visited the hospital in the company of Dean Colet, one of the brethren presented a holy relic, a portion of Becket’s shoe, for the travellers to kiss before being sprinkled with holy water. The dean declined the proffered favour with such an outburst of wrathful rhetoric that the courteous Erasmus must needs made amends by dropping a goodly donation into the box, at that time fastened by a chain, of which a few links remain, to a tree near the hospital gate, or at the end of a long pole, so that the passer-by might give his donation at a safe distance from the infected lepers.” [The box may be seen here]
Incidentally, Erasmus is also generally credited with coining the English phrase “Pandora’s box”, arising through an error in his translation of Pandora by Hesiod in which he confused “pithos”, storage jar, with “pyxis”, box. It is a befitting word of playful caution, when opening the example for sale here, which has been locked with the key inside.
posted in: medieval and renaissance objects, Uncategorized