Magnificent Spanish Golden Age Paintings from Auckland Castle

Launch Slideshow

A superb selection of Spanish Master paintings from the collection of Auckland Castle will be on view in Paintings from the Spanish Gallery at Sotheby’s New York through 11 February. The exhibition presents a unique opportunity to preview the esteemed collection in advance of the gallery’s 2019 opening in the North-East British town of Bishop Auckland. The show is made possible as part of The Auckland Project, an initiative to revitalise the former industrial region. Click ahead to see highlights. 

The Auckland Project at Sotheby's: Paintings from the Spanish Gallery 
26 January–11 February | New York 

Magnificent Spanish Golden Age Paintings from Auckland Castle

  • Luca Giordano, The Adoration Of The Magi.
    This outstanding Adoration of the Magi by Luca Giordano is likely to date to 1687–89, when the artist was working in Naples before departing for Spain in 1692. Giordano’s skill in depicting a scene that incorporates such a rich panoply of figures resides in his ability to unify different elements within the composition’s broad panorama while retaining many visually arresting components and lively brushwork. 

  • Juan Martín Cabezalero, Saint Ildephonsus Receiving The Chasuble From The Virgin.
    According to legend, on 18 December 665 AD the Virgin appeared in a vision to Saint Ildephonsus, Archbishop of Toledo and vested him with an embroidered chasuble from Christ’s treasury. In this great canvas by the Madrilenian painter Juan Martín Cabezalero, Saint Ildephonsus, dressed as a simple cleric, kneels before the standing Virgin and embraces the chasuble that she holds before him, while a mystical light emanates from her halo, illuminating the cast of angels and virgin martyrs in attendance and defining the interior of Toledo Cathedral, where the miracle was said to have taken place.

  • Juan Bautista Maíno, The Penitent Magdalene.
    Mary Magdalene was one of the most frequently depicted saints in Juan Bautista Maíno’s cast of devotional figures, but never in a more sensual image than in this painting. Here the young and beautiful penitent sinner, seen holding a holy text with a jar of ointment at her side, has retreated from the world to meditate in solitude on the word of God. Maíno was one of only a handful of Spanish artists to visit Rome during Caravaggio’s lifetime and he became a key exponent of a poetic and lyrical Caravaggesque style, evidenced here in his adoption of intense colours, carefully nuanced modelling and a precise linearity to render his subject.
  • Juan Van Der Hamen Y León, Portrait Of A Young Boy Holding A Lance.
    This once-lost masterpiece from the optimistic, early years of the reign of King Philip IV reappeared unexpectedly at auction in 2016. The painter, Juan van der Hamen y León, was the prodigiously talented contemporary of Velázquez at the Spanish court, and his only viable rival in the field of portraiture until Harmen's premature death. The subject of the painting is believed to be Dominguillo, a child adopted by Gaspar de Guzmán, the Spanish Count-Duke of Olivares and his wife. According to historical notes, the couple brought the young Flemish boy into their household after seeing him on the street and became the focus of a nearly competitive love on the part of the couple, who had no male heir. 

  • Circle Of Diego Rodríguez De Silva y Velázquez, Portrait of a Spanish Officer.
    With his direct gaze and confident pose the sitter in this half-length portrait has been identified as a Spanish officer, dressed in a doublet and jerkin with a grey silk sash and a lace collar and holding a staff. In the figure’s manner of stance and frank gaze, the work is similar to those by Diego Velazquez, though the brushstrokes here are too particularised and studied to belong the artist. Datable to the 1630s, The Portrait of a Spanish Officer nevertheless comes close to the spirit of the great master and attribution is certainly among his circle.  

  • Juan Correa De Vivar, Christ On The Road To Calvary.
    This exceptional panel was painted by Juan Correa de Vivar during the 1540s, and almost certainly formed part of the artist’s most important commission for the Cistercian Monastery of San Martín de Valdeiglesias, in the diocese of Toledo. It is an outstanding example of both Correa’s mature style and, more generally, the Mannerist tradition prevalent in Spain around the middle of the century, of which Correa himself was one of the leading exponents. 

  • Joan Maçip Navarro, Called Juan De Juanes, The Crucifixion.
    Juan de Juanes was the dominant artistic personality working in Valencia during the mid-sixteenth century and this powerful yet elegant representation of the Crucifixion was painted in 1578, the year before his death. A late masterpiece by Juanes, the present work is precisely the type of painting that earned the artist the reputation as the Raphael of Spain.
  • Luis Tristán De Escamilla, The Penitent Magdalene.
    As the preeminent painter of his generation in Toledo, Tristán achieved an expressive intensity in his art that reconciled the extreme mannerism of El Greco, in whose workshop he had trained, with the strong naturalism of seventeenth-century tenebrist painting. The Penitent Magdalene is among the best examples of Tristán’s work as the penitent’s rough hands and unidealised figure appear life-like, depicted in fluidly applied warm tones. A scene of intense repentance and devotion, this painting was probably intended as a work for private worship. 
  • Juan Carreño De Miranda, Saint Anthony Of Padua With The Christ Child.
    Until its recent acquisition for the Spanish Gallery at Bishop Auckland, this archetypal image of Saint Anthony had been in the collection of the Marquises de Legarda, Spain, for over three centuries. With remarkable painterly fluency Carreño expresses the belief in a personal relationship with Christ through the example of Saint Anthony of Padua, depicted here with the Christ Child at the crowning moment of his spiritual life. In composition and colouring the picture owes as much to the Baroque style of Rubens and other Flemish artists so admired by Carreño as it does to the painterly quality of the Venetians. 
  • Attributed To Antonio De Pereda, Still Life Of Apples, Grapes And Acorns.
    Precise authorship of this beautiful and previously unknown still life of apples, grapes and acorns is still being resolved, but it is undoubtedly related to two other works of nearly identical composition — one painting in the Museo del Prado, Madrid, and the other formerly in the collection of the Marquis of Remisa and today in a private collection.

  • Francisco Barranco, Still Life With Song Birds And A Chocolate Service.
    Painted in Seville in 1647, this is one of only three extant signed and dated works by Francisco Barranco. In all three of these works, Barranco's objects are rendered in earthy, subdued tones, with occasional areas of high colour, such as the red napkin in the upper right corner seen here. The overall handling is painterly and fluid, while the artist renders the contrasting textures of the various objects with great skill, from the rustic earthenware chocolate pot to the fine feathers of the birds and the beautifully observed translucent glass vase seen at upper right.
  • Juan De Arellano, Still Life With A Large Array Of Flowers In A Glass Vase On A Stone Pedestal.
    This elaborate still life by Juan De Arellano, the leading flower painter of seventeenth-century Spain is datable on stylistic grounds to the mid-to-late 1660s. The qualities that mark Arellano’s paintings from this period include the detailed quality of the handling, the configuration of blooms and the use of more intense chiaroscuro in their lighting. 

  • Francisco Bayeu Y Subías, La Perra de Graus.
    Once in the collection of Manuel Godoy (1767–1851), Prime Minister of Spain, this captivating portrait of a dog by Francisco Bayeu was painted in around 1788. The dog was the subject of a project to provide King Charles III with a pack of the Aragonese breed to secure the future survival of the Royal pack. One of the most successful artists at the court of Charles III, Bayeu was engaged in ambitious royal and church commissions and is best known for his work in fresco in the Italian tradition of Corrado Giaquinto, making this portrait highly unusual in Bayeu’s œuvre, which consists largely of public commissions.

  • Mateo Cerezo, The Penitent Magdalene.
    This elegant treatment of The Penitent Magdalene is one of Mateo Cerezo’s most successful and celebrated compositions datable to about 1665–66. The design is known in at least three other autograph versions, as well as numerous copies.  In this depiction, the Magdalene is fully covered by her penitent’s robe. An intense spiritual dialogue is evoked by the gaze she directs at the crucifix, as she indicates her own mortality by pointing to the skull. Thus pose and setting charge this religious image with its spiritual power, while the reduced palette enhances the picture’s aesthetic quality.

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