Property from a Private Collection
WORKSHOP OF JAN MASSYS
(Antwerp circa 1509 - before 8 October 1575)
AN ALLEGORY OF CHARITY
oil on canvas
54⅜ by 38¾ in.; 138.2 by 98.5 cm.
The canvas appears to have a thin lining. The paint surface is stable with some visible craquelure in the flesh tones of the figures. A small loss is visible in the lower left corner, probably due to frame abrasion. The image reads very well with bold colors and detailing in the clothing and hair retained. Under UV inspection, some of the varnish fluoresces unevenly and there appear to have been two campaigns of restoration: the older included more concentrated areas of retouching such as in the sleeping child at right and in spots on the woman's right cheek, arms and chest. The newer retouching is much smaller and addresses spots in the background at top center near the figure's faces, which also appear to be areas of old repairs. Offered in an ebonized wood frame with decorative gilding.
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.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
In this impressive allegorical scene, a personification of Charity sits in a highly stylized setting, luxuriously clothed and bejeweled, surrounded by three golden-haired children and a small dog in the lower right. Visual parallels are found throughout the oeuvre of Jan Massys, a mid-sixteenth century artist from Antwerp whose works display a particular interest in rendering the female form in large scale. In subject, this canvas relates to Massys' two iterations of Caritas on panel, one in a private collection and the other in the Palazzo Bianco, Genoa, the latter of which also corresponds in the types of cherub-like figures here . The facial type of the central figure in the present work relates to two separate renderings of Judith by Massys, one in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the other in the Louvre .
1. The former: oil on panel, 147 by 112.5 cm., most recently sold, London, Sotheby's, 5 December 2012, lot 3, for £445,250; the latter: oil on panel, 126 by 93 cm., inv. no. 285. See L. Buijnsters-Smets, Jan Massys een Antwerps schilder uit de zestiende eeuw, Zwolle 1995, pp. 180-3, cat. nos. 26-27, reproduced in color pp. 131-132.
2. The former: oil on panel, 101 by 74.5 cm., inv. no. 12.1048; the latter: oil on panel, 162 by 197 cm., inv. no. 1446. See ibid., p. 172, cat. no. 18, reproduced and pp. 198-199, cat. no. 38, reproduced.