Property from a Private Collection
JOHANN SPILLENBERGER | Mercury Encountering Aglauros at the House of Herse and her father, King Cecrops
Estimate: 4,000 - 6,000 GBP
Property from a Private Collection
Kosice, Slovakia 1628 - 1679 Passau
MERCURY ENCOUNTERING AGLAUROS AT THE HOUSE OF HERSE AND HER FATHER, KING CECROPS
oil on canvas
unframed: 58.5 x 35.5 cm.; 23 x 14 in.
framed: 66.7 x 43.8 cm.; 26¼ x 17¼ in.
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Property from Various Owners is available to view at the Sotheby’s Greenford Park warehouse, 13 and 16 – 18 September (10 - 4pm), by appointment.
The canvas is lined, the paint surface is dirty, and the varnish is discoloured. A fairly pronounced network of craquelure is visible throughout, and discolorued retouchings, possibly to previous losses, are visible in the centre of the sky, above Hermes' hat, around Jupiter in the cloud, and along the upper and left margins, notably in the upper left corner. There are further visible retouchings along the lower and right margins. Inspection under ultraviolet light confirms these and further reveals a concentrated area of retouching in the lower left corner 1 x 3 cm., in the ground below Hermes' foot and in his hand, and around the top of the arch upper right. An older campaign of retouching would appear to consist of fine lines to disguse the network of craquelure, notably in Agalauros' blue drapery. In overall fair condition.
The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot provided by Sotheby's. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colours and shades which are different to the lot's actual colour and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation because Sotheby's is not a professional conservator or restorer but rather the condition report is a statement of opinion genuinely held by Sotheby's. For that reason, Sotheby's condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot.
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J.A. Patteson, according to an old piece of canvas affixed to the reverse;
Anonymous sale, London, Sotheby's, 17 February 1988, lot 114 (as German School, 17th century), where acquired.
R. Baljohr, Johann von Spillenberger 1628-1679, Ein Maler des Barock, Weissenhorn 2003, pp. 246-47, cat. no. M37, reproduced in colour fig. 50.
Ovid recounts the subject of this painting in his Metamorphoses, Book 2: 708-832. Hermes is in Athens, and falls in love with Herse, daughter of Cecrops, King of Athens, at a festival to Athena. When Hermes visits Herse's house to ask for her hand, he encounters her jealous sister Aglauros, who agrees to give Herse Hermes' message in exchange for gold. Athena, angered by this, orders Envy to poison Aglauros, who begins to waste away with jealousy and refuses to allow Hermes entrance to Herse's room, whereupon Mercury transforms Aglauros into black marble.