Lot 53
  • 53

Jean Lemaire

60,000 - 80,000 EUR
bidding is closed


  • Jean Lemaire
  • Landscape with the Dioscuri and antic ruins animated with figures
  • Oil on canvas


Collection of baron Alexandre von Bach (1813-1893) minister under the reign of François-Joseph Ist of Austria


Le tableau se présente dans un état de conservation relativement satisfaisant. Il a fait l'objet d'un réentoilage ancien au début du XXe siècle. Il est sous un vernis très sale qui a besoin d'être nettoyé. Il est sur une toile romaine, pavimenteuse à tissage large tout à fait caractéristique. On remarque quelques petits manques dans la colone au centre et dans le sol au centre (visible sur la photo). A la lampe UV : le tableau est sous un vernis vert uniforme. On constate quelques restaurations dans les jambes d'une des statues centrales et dans les feuillages de l'arbre au-dessus de Colisée. Il y a également des petites reprises dans le vêtement rouge du personnage allongé à droite. The painting is a reasonnably good overall condition. It has been relined at the begin of the XXth century. It is under a very dirty varnish which needs to be cleaned. It is painted on a typical roman canvas with large thread, typical of the roman canvas of the period. We can see some small lacks of painting in the column at the centre and in the ground at the centre as well (we can see it on the photograph of the catalogue). Under the UV light : the painting is under a very dirty thick uniform varnish. We can see some restoration in the legs of one statue at the centre and in the foliageof the tree above the Coliseo. Few retouches in the red cloth of the figure lying on the right of the composition.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

Catalogue Note

During the 19th century, desperate collectors seeking paintings by Nicolas Poussin turned to his emulators, even naming his most brilliant collaborator, Jean Lemaire, "Lemaire-Poussin". It is true that a similar atmosphere of monumental and glorious Rome bathed compositions by the two artists. However, the art historian Maurizio Fagiolo dell'Arco pointed out that, unlike Poussin, Lemaire endeavored to reproduce the ancient monuments as he saw them, and not as he interpreted them1. In doing so, he brought forth with his capriccio of tangled buildings a rare testimony of the condition of the ancient Roman remains during the first half of the 17th century.

In his paintings, like Hubert Robert a hundred and thirty years later, he sought to repeat similar compositions, guided by the search for a beautiful, calm, and harmonious balance. Our superb canvas is no exception and is close to a work that entered the Kunsthistorisches Museum in 17302. With smaller dimensions (60 x 74 cm [23-1/2 x 29 in.]), the canvas in Vienna was dated by the art historian Fagiolo delle'Arco around the 1630s, at the time of his important commission for the Florentine banker Agnolo Galli (1560 - ca. 1636). In these two compositions we find the monuments which fascinated the artist as soon as he arrived in Rome in 1613. Within this lovely capriccio, the massive statues of Castor and Pollux from the Quirinal fountain, planned by Michelangelo for the Piazza del Campidoglio, border the Roman Coliseum positioned here by the Temple of the Dioscuri in the Roman Forum which is placed behind the Leonine fountain. The fountain presented in this work is absent from the Vienna composition.

The impressive scale of our painting in comparison with that of Vienna could also be regarded as a work during the artist's maturity. He was more at ease with large formats during the second part of his career, for he repeated some of his notable compositions in larger dimensions, before his return to France in 1638.

1. M. Fagiolo dell'Arco, Jean Lemaire pittore "antiquario", Rome, 1996, p. 7
2. Vienna, inv. N.5760