Our 30 January auction totalled over the hight estimate, bringing $16.4 million. A sculpture attributed to Willem van Tetrode, Samson slaying the Philistine, achieved over double the high estimate at $3.3 million. Multiple bidders drove the price of Portrait of a gyrfalcon, viewed from three sides, to $3.2 million, more than triple the high estimate.
In January 2014, Sotheby’s will present The Courts of Europe: Renaissance to Rococo, a highly curated sale and prominent highlight of the week, featuring distinguished paintings, drawings, and sculpture that demonstrate the princely taste of these artistic centers. Between the 15th and 18th centuries, the courts of Europe were paramount in political and cultural life, driving the taste and style of the day and greatly influencing the arts through their patronage. From the papal and princely courts of Renaissance Italy to the French and Russian palaces of the 18th century, they were the lavish centers of artistic life and development, patronizing many of the great old master artists and artisans including Van Eyck, Bernini, Rubens, Raphael, and Goya.
This sale will feature examples from multiple countries and genres, including paintings, drawings, and sculpture by artists that were employed by European rulers from 1500 to 1800, and will be curated to focus on the most important artistic centers and their artists. Highlights include a captivating Portrait of a Gyrfalcon, painted for one of the Lombard Courts in the mid-16th century, and a Portrait of Edward VI by the Workshop of Guillim Scrots.
We are grateful to Alessandro Ballarin for independently suggesting an attribution of this lot to Dosso Dossi and recognizing it as a fragment of the Aeneas frieze.
Please note the additional literature for this lot:
A. Zanni and A. Di Lorenzo, Giovanni Battista Moroni. Il Cavaliere in nero. L'immagine del gentiluomo nel Cinquecento, exhibition catalogue, Milan, Museo Poldi Pezzoli, 2 October 2005 - 15 January 2006, p. 93, note 19;
G. Malacarne, Lords of the sky. Falconry in Mantua at the time of the Gonzagas, Artiglio editore, 2011.
The correct artist's heading for this lot is: Workshop of Michiel Jansz. van Mierevelt (Delft 1567 - 1641).
The correct title for this lot is Queen Elizabeth Stuart of Bohemia.
This portrait appears to have been based on Mierevelt's circa 1623 full length portrait of Elizabeth Stuart in the collection of the Duke of Norfolk, Arundel Castle. That portrait shows the queen wearing a "love lock" which extends from her ear down over her ruff. The present lot originally included the "love lock," but it was later painted over and is visible now under ultraviolet light. Later versions of this portrait, such as that in the Town Hall of Tholen which is dated to circa 1629, do not depict the "love lock" which had gone out of fashion by that date.
This painting will be included in a forthcoming article by Andrea Tomezzoli, "Giambettino Cignaroli e la ritrovata Leda per Augusto III", in Arte Veneta, 69, 2014.
Please note that this lot has been withdrawn.
Please note that the provenance of this relief was not included in the printed catalogue, but has been published online.