Highlights from Old Master Copies

18th century man and woman sat in front of easel with paints
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Followers and students of some of the greatest Old Master painters were responsible for a vast body of work reflecting the styles and honouring the skills of their teachers. The Sotheby’s online-only Old Master Copies sale showcases a huge variety of paintings by members of major schools including those following Sir Peter Paul Rubens, Sir Anthony Van Dyck and Canaletto. Click above to view highlights.

Old Master Copies Online
Online | 5-13 September 2018

Highlights from Old Master Copies

  • Willem van Nijmegen
    A 'trompe l'œil' of a Rembrandt self portrait etching, pinned to a wooden surface.
    Estimate: £6,000 – 8,000
    Willem van Nijmegen worked in The Hague, Haarlem, and Delft, and specialised in painting and drawing illusionistic 'trompe l'œil' images, particularly of prints. Here he reproduces a Rembrandt etching of a self-portrait, wearing a cap with an open mouth. The original print is one of a small group of etchings that Rembrandt produced in 1630, using his own likeness to depict a variety of facial expressions (frowning, laughing and open-mouthed).
  • Follower of Jens Jørgensen Juel
    The artist and his wife Rosine, née Dørschel.
    Estimate: £2,000 – 3,000
    This is a copy after Juel's 1791 original now in the Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen. Juel was a leading Danish painter best known for his landscapes, based directly on studies from nature. He painted compositionally balanced works in a harmonious palette, continuing a classical painterly tradition and producing some of the finest examples of early Danish Romanticism. It is, however, his small-format portraits such as the present composition in which he was an evident master.
  • Follower of Hans Memling
    Portrait of a young man.
    Estimate: £3,000 – 4,000
    Although the present painting is not a direct copy after a specific work, it appears to be a later exercise in the style of Hans Memling (1430/40–1494), who was one of the most important exponents of the new artistic developments that flourished in the southern Netherlands in the fifteenth century, in the wake of artists such as Jan van Eyck and Rogier van der Weyden.
  • After Raffaello Sanzio, called Raphael
    Portrait of Bindo Altoviti.
    Estimate: £2,000 – 3,000
    This is a 19th-century copy after the portrait of Bindo Altoviti by the High Renaissance master, Raphael, which now hangs in the National Gallery of Art, Washington. The original painting was executed in Rome circa 1515, and remained in the possession of the sitter’s descendants until 1808. Bindo Altoviti was a wealthy banker born in Rome in 1491, and was patron to artists including Michelangelo and Vasari, as well as Raphael. This portrait reflects the influence of Leonardo da Vinci’s work, which Raphael studied particularly in the latter part of his career spent in Rome.
  • After Sir Peter Paul Rubens
    Self portrait.
    Estimate: £1,500 – 2,000
    The present painting is a copy after Rubens' signed and dated self-portrait of 1623, in the Collection of Her Majesty The Queen in Windsor Castle (inv. no. 400156), painted for Charles I. The original painting was recently on display in the exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, which brought together many of the pictures from the King’s collection for the first time since it was dissolved in the mid-17th century.
  • After Giovanni Antonio Canal, called Canaletto
    Venice, a view of the Grand Canal looking East from the Campo di S. Vio.
    Estimate: £2,000 – 3,000
    This painting is a reduced copy after the original painting on copper by Canaletto, which has always been in the collection of the Earls of Leicester at Holkham Hall, along with a pendant depicting the 'Rialto Bridge from the South', both datable to the late 1720s. Holkham was designed around the collection amassed by the first Earl of Leicester, Thomas Coke (1697–1759), during his Grand Tour of Italy in the first decade of the 18th century, and the house and its contents have remained largely untouched ever since.
  • After Louis Jean François Lagrenée
    Estimate: £1,000 – 1,500
    This is a period, smaller copy after Louis Jean François Lagrenée's painting, datable to circa 1785, today in the Louvre, Paris. Lagrenée was a prolific painter and draughtsman, and received many important commissions for both religious and secular works, such as the 'Audience of St Louis with Pope Innocent IV at Lyon' for the École Militaire in Paris. He turned away from the Rococo style of the 18th century to revive the classicising taste of the previous century. He also excelled in painting small, allegorical works, such as the present composition.
  • After Cristofano Allori
    Judith with the head of Holofernes.
    Estimate £4,000-6,000
    This is a copy after Allori's painting of 1610–12, today in the Pitti Palace, Florence. Allori's composition became an instant success and was widely copied, due in part to the popularity of the biblical legend depicted, but also because of its autobiographical nature: the decapitated head of Holofernes is a self-portrait, and Allori’s lover, Mazzafirra, is portrayed as the beautiful young woman.
  • After Valentin de Boulogne
    Soldiers playing dice.
    Estimate: £6,000 – 8,000
    This painting is a later copy after a lost work by one of the greatest French followers of Caravaggio, Valentin de Boulogne. It is believed that the original must date to the early period of Valentin's life, circa 1622, when he was working in Rome. This sort of subject was particularly popular with the Tenebrist artists working in Caravaggio’s wake. The facial types here also reflect the influence of Bartolomeo Manfredi, one of Caravaggio’s closest followers, and another source of inspiration for Valentin.
  • Julie von Bredow Gamboni, after Frans Wouters
    Venus and Adonis.
    Estimate: £1,000-1,500
    This is a late 19th or early 20th century copy after the painting which depicts Venus attempting to prevent Adonis from hunting, in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. It is signed on the reverse by the artist, Julie von Bredow Gamboni, who is known to have copied other works in the Uffizi. At the time she painted this, the original was believed to be by Rubens, but it has since been attributed to his pupil, Frans Wouters.
  • After Pieter Bruegel the Elder
    The Battle Between Carnival and Lent.
    Estimate: £10,000-15,000
    This is a later copy after the artist's iconic painting of 1559, which hangs today in the famous ‘Bruegel Room’ in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna. The painting depicts a traditional festival held in the Southern Netherlands, representing the transition between the celebrations and feasting of Carnival (portrayed on the left of the composition in front of an inn), before the 40-day period of religious observance and abstinence from certain foods during Lent (depicted on the right before a church).
  • After Albrecht Dürer
    Portrait of a man.
    Estimate: £1,000-1,500
    This is a later copy after the greatest German Renaissance painter Albrecht Dürer's portrait of 1521, today in the Museo del Prado, Madrid. Although we do not know the identity of the sitter, his character is as plain today as if we were meeting him in the early 16th century. The large hat emphasises, rather than hides, the man's penetrating stare and determined set of his jaw, and the viewer's gaze is also drawn towards his hands and the scroll of paper he holds tightly.
  • After Gentile da Fabriano
    Mary Magdalen.
    Estimate: £4,000-6,000
    This is a 19th-century copy after a panel from the Valle Romita Polyptych, datable to 1410-12, by one of the greatest late Gothic artists, Gentile da Fabriano. The original altarpiece is today in the Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan. The central panel depicts the Coronation of the Virgin, and the four large panels surrounding this depict Saint Jerome, Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Dominic and Mary Magdalen, all shown standing in a garden, exemplifying the International Gothic style.
  • After Sir Anthony van Dyck
    Charles I at the hunt.
    Estimate: £3,000-4,000
    This is a reduced variation en grisaille of one of Van Dyck's most imposing, dashing, yet informal portraits of King Charles I of England – the painting of circa 1635, today in the Louvre, Paris, and recently exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts, London for the exhibition of Charles I's collection. This painting was most likely executed following a print, but the artist has chosen to omit the two attendants who, in the original painting, attend to the horse. All focus is consequently centred on the figure of the king.
  • WestImage - Art Digital Studio
    Follower of Sir Peter Paul Rubens
    Study of a black woman wearing a cap.
    Estimate: £6,000-8,000
    A century after the German Renaissance master Albrecht Dürer drew some of the first portraits of black people from life, Rubens was the next great artist to execute some of the most sympathetic portraits of black men and women in Europe. This painting is closely related to two drawings connected with Rubens and his circle, which depict the same model wearing the same cap, one of which is in the British Museum, London.
  • Follower of Canaletto
    Venice, a view of the Grand Canal, looking north-east from Santa Croce to the Chiesa degli Scalzi.
    Estimate: £15,000-20,000
    This is a period, 18th-century copy after the painting by Canaletto that was one of twenty-one views of Venice of the same size, which formerly belonged to Sir Robert Grenville Harvey. The composition was also engraved by Antonio Visentini, whose prints of Canaletto’s Venetian vedute were organised by the artist’s patron, Consul Joseph Smith, and led to the wide dissemination and popularity of Canaletto’s works.
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