C urrently open for bidding until 30 October, the auction Old Master Copies Online: Imitation & Influence includes works by followers and students of some of the great old master painters, from Rembrandt to Velázquez. We asked five Sotheby’s specialists to choose their favourite work from the online-only sale, and take it home with them to see how it would fit in with their lives and the objects that surround them.
FOLLOWER OF DOMENICO ZAMPIERI, CALLED IL DOMENICHINO, THE RAPTURE OF SAINT PAUL. ESTIMATE £4,000–6,000.
I love the contrast of the beautifully preserved colours of this copy of the Louvre’s Domenichino against the black and white geometry of the floor, and the light streaming through the glass of the door makes for a good setting for this Rapture of Saint Paul.
AFTER DIEGO RODRÍGUEZ DE SILVA Y VELÁZQUEZ, THE LADY WITH A FAN. ESTIMATE £4,000–6,000.
Velazquez inspired so many of my favourite artists – both contemporary and otherwise; everyone from Goya to Picasso to Francis Bacon. He was the first to play with ideas about the status of the artist, and one of the greatest portraitists of all time. This coquettish copy captures the drama of his work, and added serious gravitas to my flat!
MARIA JOHANNA WILHELMINA BECHT, AFTER JAN DAVIDSZ. DE HEEM, A GARLAND OF FLOWERS AND FRUIT. ESTIMATE £2,000–3,000.
De Heem is one of the greatest still-life painters of the 17th century. I think it’s amazing that this copy, by an artist who died in as late as 1953, has captured so much of the spirit and detail of De Heem’s work. The picture looked so decorative and at home in my flat, I was really sad to give it back!
FOLLOWER OF SIR PETER PAUL RUBENS, PORTRAIT OF FRANS FRANCKEN I. ESTIMATE £6,000–8,000.
I chose this portrait for the fact that it’s one artist (the copyist) after another artist (Rubens) painting another artist, Francken. I love the monochrome tonality and how it sits against Patrick Caulfield’s Lamp and Pines from 1975.
FOLLOWER OF HANS HOLBEIN THE YOUNGER, PORTRAIT OF KING HENRY VIII. ESTIMATE £6,000–8,000.
This likeness of the famous Tudor king is probably one of the most famous images in British Art; the aggressive, bull-like figure of Henry VIII staring straight out at us is every inch a proclamation of power and his self-assured magnificence. Holbein’s ability to capture such psychological depth set the new standard for portraiture in Britain, which has continued into the modern era from Freud to Bacon. I thought it apt that this work is placed under an image of Bacon, who whilst known for portraits of extreme psychological depth was, like Henry VIII, partial to a glass of wine or two.