From Devotional Images to Idyllic Landscapes: Old Master Day Sale Highlights

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Sotheby's Old Master Day Sale includes examples from most major schools of painting in western Europe, from devotional images of the early Italian Renaissance, to the Italian High Baroque; from early Netherlandish gems to fine English portraits. With estimates ranging from £10,000–200,000, and paintings spanning 500 years of European art and history we are excited to present a Day Sale that will appeal to both seasoned collectors and buyers new to Old Master Paintings. Click above to discover highlights from the sale.

From Devotional Images to Idyllic Landscapes: Old Master Day Sale Highlights

  • Antwerp School, circa 1520
    The Virgin and the Christ Child with Saint Anne before a Rose Bower (Anna Selbdritt)
    Estimate £100,000–150,000
    This beautiful panel depicting the Virgin and Child and Saint Anne seated in a rose garden is in wonderful condition. Its' enamel-like surface beautifully displays the highly detailed carpet of tiny leaves and flowers upon which the protagonists sit, and the pigments of the vivid reds and blues of the drapery remain in their lustrous original state.
    The painting was long considered the work of Rogier van der Weyden, and formed part of the prestigious collection of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna for over 150 years. It was only de-accessioned from the Kunsthistorisches Museum in 1928. We do not know who was responsible for the creation of this panel, but it is likely that the artist worked in the orbit of the Master of Frankfurt, an anonymous master working in Antwerp in the late 15th and early 16th century.
  • Cornelis Norbertus Gysbrechts
    Trompe L'œil of an Open Cabinet
    Estimate £40,000–60,000
    Having been employed as motifs since Antiquity, in the decoration at Pompeii for example, illusionistic wall cupboards or niches were subjects that gained considerable popularity in the Renaissance and surfaced again as a favoured subject among Dutch and Flemish painters in the 17th century. This is one of the very few trompe-l’oeil cupboard door paintings by Cornelis Norbertus Gysbrechts who was working in Antwerp during this period. The picture represents a cabinet containing objects, including an overflowing pouch full of coins and items of writing equipment, which are visible through the glass of the door. The door itself is set at an angle and very effectively creates an illusion of depth.
  • Maarten Van Heemskerck
    The Virgin and Child
    Estimate £40,000-60,000
    This Virgin and Child is among the very earliest known works by Maarten van Heemskerck. His imaginative variations on this subject are a recurring theme throughout his oeuvre, but this treatment appears to have been painted before or during his period of collaboration with Jan van Scorel in the late 1520s while both artists were living in Haarlem. Heemskerck departed for his travels throughout Italy soon afterwards, in 1532.
  • Carlo Bonavia
    Morning: an Estuary Landscape with Soldiers and Fishermen; Evening: a Coastal Landscape with a Burning Town
    Estimate £12,000-18,000
    This tiny pair of unlined canvases by Carlo Bonavia depict coastal landscapes at morning and evening. Thought to have been born in Rome, but active in Naples in the late 18th century, Bonavia continued the Neapolitan landscape tradition of Salvator Rosa, to whose romantic and often esoteric style Bonavia added the Rococo palette and a soft, atmospheric light which he found in the paintings of Vernet, who was in Naples in 1737 and again in 1746.
  • Gaspare Traversi
    Saint Joseph with the Christ Child
    Estimate £30,000-50,000
    This newly discovered Saint Joseph with the Christ Child is by the Neapolitan painter Gaspare Traversi. This composition of Joseph tenderly embracing the wriggling infant dates to Traversi’s mature period of the late 1750s and 60s, and is typical of the artist’s work in its close crop and high view point. Traversi is in fact better known for his satirical depictions of bourgeois Neapolitans than for his religious subjects – in this he was much influenced by the naturalist painters of the previous generation such as Preti, Caracciolo and Ribera.
  • George Stubbs, A.R.A.
    Lord Grosvenor's Sweet William in a Landscape
    Estimate £150,000-250,000
    A dark bay chestnut foaled in 1786, Sweet William was bred by William Cornforth of Barforth, near Richmond, Yorkshire. He was of a distinguished bloodline going all the way back to Place’s White Turk, a famous Arabian stallion imported in the mid-seventeenth-century and named after Oliver Cromwell’s stud-master. Stubbs’s portrait of Sweet William accentuates the horse’s distinguished profile and the full, beautifully arched neck characteristic of a thoroughbred Arabian horse.
  • Willem Schellinks
    A Winter Landscape with Travellers and Figures Gathering Logs on a Frozen River near a Village
    Estimate £40,000-60,000
    Diaries and numerous drawings record the extensive travels of the Amsterdam poet and painter Willem Schellinks: in 1646 with Lambert Doomer through France, and from 1661 to 1665 through France, England, Italy, Malta and Germany. In Italy he was admitted to the Schildersbent where he acquired from his fellow Bentvueghels (other Dutch painters resident in Rome) the nickname ‘Spits’, an allusion to his quick wit and initiative. This jewel like, atmospheric winter scene bears the influence of several Italianisti, perhaps most notably that of Philips Wouwerman.
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