Spanning 70 million years, check out the contents of our latest cabinet of curiosities. This mysterious film, shot on Super-8 by our curator and deputy chairman Nicolas Chow, features masterpieces from cultures and civilisations featuring in our upcoming Curiosity IV auction (2 April, Hong Kong).
Every baroque prince had to have a cabinet of curiosities. These private art chambers developed out of the medieval treasury and, in turn, the Renaissance studiolo. They were filled with dazzling natural wonders and marvels of human industry. A source of prestige, princes vied to have the finest works of carved hardstone, ivory, horn and shell. These curiosities would fill their intimate chambers and so impress their peers and rivals. The cabinet of curiosities was the ultimate symbol of wealth, taste and learning.
Sotheby’s Masters Week achieved an extraordinary $82.5 million across six sales, nearly twice the 2017 series results. Among the more than 650 paintings, drawings and sculptures sold were a pair of immaculate Venetian views by Canaletto, which earned $4.2 million. The week's three private sales saw remarkable results, garnering a combined $23 million. For more of the best auction moments from Masters Week, click ahead. And while the sales may be over, two exhibitions of Spanish Golden Age paintings are on view through 11 February in our New York galleries. Selling a work of art, fine timepiece or jewel with Sotheby’s is simple. Click here for more information about consigning with Sotheby's.
Ahead of the Erotic: Passion and Desire sale in London on 15 February, Telegraph columnist and The Amorist editor Rowan Pelling looks at the enduring allure of erotic art. Is there any form of art that quickens the senses with such immediacy as the erotic? Or that exposes the self as starkly in its most covert appetites? When you observe the evocation of desire, crystallised in the curve of a thigh or an ecstasy of tangled limbs, a fine thread of sensuality is spun between artist and art lover. The pang of yearning can feel so sharp, so freshly minted, that centuries and whole millennia collapse as the viewer is transported by lust’s flame to the eternal present. Indeed, to gaze upon Gustav Klimt’s sketch of Lovers Lying Seen From the Right is to slip inside the bedroom and inhale the sweet civet stench of sexual rapture. The most intimate of encounters is brought centre screen, making us all complicit in the drama. Every work in Sotheby’s second Erotic sale acts as a time capsule, speeding us to the moment when longing first arose.
NEW YORK – Wunderkammers, perhaps better known today as cabinets of curiosities, are a phenomenon noted across history, from the Roman Empire to the Renaissance to the Victorian era. The creator of a wunderkammer, which literally means “wonder room” or “room of wonder,” generally wanted to showcase their wealth and knowledge by gathering and classifying a variety of naturalia (natural objects), arteficilia (man-made objects) and scientifica (scientific objects to control or order nature). AN ARRANGEMENT OF SILVER AND CERAMICS FROM THE UPCOMING COLLECTIONS & CURIOSITIES AUCTION.
The allure of the cabinet of curiosities – or Kunstkammer – an encyclopedic display for all manner of treasure, rarity and relic – has endured from the Renaissance to the pages of today’s home decor magazines. Whimsical and worldly, these eclectic collections – or even just a few of your favourite objects – can be incorporated into any home, with the right eye. To show us how to live with historical objects in modern ways, we turned to Judy Kim, food stylist, photographer and floral designer, who curated objects from our upcoming Collections & Curiosities and Collections: European Decorative Arts auctions to create eight Kunstkammer-inspired vignettes. Click ahead to find ways to style everything from a gem-set ostrich figure to deep-sea-inspired silver settings. Collections & Curiosities: Silver, Ceramics & Objects of Vertu 19 October | New York Collections: European Decorative Arts 27 October | New York
Perhaps you’re feeling a bit out of sync with your stars due to the lingering effects of August's eclipse. No need to worry – the Furniture & Decorative Arts team has looked into your horoscope and found the perfect objects to help you recalibrate this month. From globes that will inspire an energetic Capricorn to a soft rug for a nesting Aries, our fall sales are filled with furniture, silver, ceramics and more to satisfy every star sign. To view these treasures in person, visit the exhibition in our New York galleries from 13 October to 27 October. Collections & Curiosities: Silver, Ceramics and Objects of Vertu 19 October | New York Collections: European Decorative Arts 27 October | New York
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