Specialist Picks from Old Masters Online

Launch Slideshow

As two Online-Only auctions continue with bidding open through 30 October, Specialists from the Old Master Paintings department in Sotheby’s London and New York locations chose their favourite picks from the sales.

Old Master Copies Online:
Imitation & Influence
30 October | Online 

Old Masters Online: Venice
30 October | Online 


Specialist Picks from Old Masters Online

  • After Diego Rodríguez de Silva Y Velázquez, Portraits of a Man. Starting bid £1,600 ($1,882).
    Calvine Harvey's Pick

    The Met is my favorite museum in New York, and as I live in the neighborhood I try to get there as often as I can.  I visited their recent exhibition on Velazquez’s portraits maybe five, six times – it was fabulous!  So to see a beautiful copy after their famous painting made me smile, I would love to have it at home to feel as if I’ve got a bit of both Velazquez and the Met in my living room.

  • Ludwig Mecklenburg, Ships docked at the Riva degli Shiavoni, Palazzo Ducale and Santa Maria della Salute in the distance, Venice. Starting bid $2,000.
    Elisabeth Lobkowicz's Pick

    I am captivated by Mecklenburg’s vivid yet peaceful depiction of Venice at sunset, particularly the golden light that illuminates the city’s iconic architecture and waterways and also casts soft shadows off the various figures that animate the foreground.

  • After Domenikos Theotokopoulos, Called El Greco Portrait of Fray Hortensio Félix Paravicino y Arteaga. Starting bid £1,600 ($1,882).
    David Pollack's Pick

    This work is after one of my favorites by El Greco, one of the great Spanish pictures in the United States. The casual expression of the Friar is so immediate that he feels like someone you just met last week. That the original was recommended to the Boston Museum by the great painter John Singer Sargent is fascinating to me, as Singer’s eye and taste was legendary.

  • Gaspare Diziani, The Finding of Moses and Hagar and the Angel: a pair. Starting bid $14,000.
    Christopher Apostle's Pick

    Although not as famous as his contemporary Giambattista Tiepolo, Gaspare Diziani had an equally active and peripatetic career, painting for clients and churches in Venice and in Germany.  These two scenes depicting episodes from the Old Testament display Diziani’s mastery of narrative and his free and scintillating brushwork, which was highly admired in his own lifetime.  I particularly love the dynamic compositions and the vivid coloration of these works.

  • After Abraham Storck, River Landscape with a Ferry. Starting bid £3,200 ($3,779).
    Martine Lambrechtsen's Pick

    It is still very easy to imagine what life looked like in the Low Countries in the 17th century. One can still see those vast low skies and expanses water in today's countryside just outside busy Amsterdam, as painted by Storck and many other landscapists of his time. True, I have (luckily?) not been on a ferry which carries both people and livestock and most of the ferries have indeed now been replaced by bridges. But one doesn't need to travel far outside of Amsterdam to still get that same feeling of never-ending skies touching water which, on a sunny day, will be just as busy with sailing vessels as in this lovely little painting. To a 17th century art lover like me, that's quite reassuring. 

  • After François Boucher, Odalisque. Starting bid £2,400 ($2,822).
    Edoardo Roberti's Pick

    This is one of the cheekiest images of the 18th century and captures perfectly the libertine spirit of the age. Perhaps Boucher was not as wealthy as Hugh Hefner but they clearly shared a few interests.

  • Follower of Richard Parkes Bonington, Boulogne Sands. Starting bid £1,600 ($1,882).
    Julian Gascoigne's Pick

    It is one of the great ‘what ifs’ of art history. What if Richard Parkes Bonington had lived longer? What would he have achieved and how would British art history be different – indeed how would the whole history of European landscape painting be different? A child prodigy who died of tuberculosis at the age of just 25, in his short life Bonington became one of the greatest and most influential landscape painters in Europe. Born in England, where he was exhibiting by the time he was eleven, he moved to France at the age of fourteen. A close friend of Eugène Delacroix, who praised Bonington’s ‘astonishing ability’, he synthesised both the English and French Romantic movements to produce some of the most original and poetically beautiful landscape paintings of the early nineteenth century. He is particularly famous for his views of the coast and beaches of Picardy and the Pas-de-Calais, in northern France, and this is a copy of one of his most celebrated and popular compositions. If this is what he could do at under 25, imagine if, like Turner, he’d still been painting into his late 60s.

  • Venetian School, 18th Century, Venice, the entrance to the Arsenale. Starting bid $1,600.
    Andrea Kust's Pick

    This painting depicts the main entrance, the Porta Magna, of the Arsenale located in the Castello district of the city.  I like this picture as it’s not the typical Venetian view that most artists painted.  A once vast complex of shipyards and armories, the Arsenale was for centuries the source of the city’s military and economic power.  It is still a fascinating place to visit and in a relatively tranquil section of Venice.

  • After Albrecht Dürer, Sudarium of Saint Veronica supported by Two Angels. Starting bid £2,000 ($2,352).
    Georgina Eliot's Pick

    I love this colourful interpretation of Albrecht Dürer’s monochrome, tonal engraving, particularly because we know from Dürer’s own diary that he gave copies of the print away as presents during his trip to the Netherlands in 1520, just as explorers were returning to Europe from the New World. Dürer exchanged prints and drawings for exotica such as pieces of coral, sugarwork, a green parrot, jewels and antique rings, coconuts, and even ‘a big fish scale.’ One of the greatest figures of the Northern Renaissance, Dürer arguably made his most powerful artistic impact through printmaking. The technical virtuosity and the sophistication and psychological depth of his imagery was unprecedented, and to own a piece of his legacy that has inspired artists ever since would be wonderful!

  • Giovanni Grubacs, Venice, a view of the Doge’s Palace, looking West. Starting bid $6,000.
    Alexa Armstrong's Pick

    Its charming size and pastel palette make this ready-to-hang panel ideal for any interior setting. Don't be fooled by its compact size; the panel bursts with details of Venetian life through its precise architectural rendering and vivid depiction of quotidian society. Grubacs placed the Doge’s Palace in an angle that opens up the foreground, inviting the viewer to muse over 19th century Venice… and in fact, if you were to witness the same scene in Venice today, you would find that things remain remarkably similar.

  • Frans Van Mieris The Younger, Lady and the Cavalier. Starting bid £4,800 ($5,668).
    Chloe Stead's Pick

    I’ve come to really love this painting – it’s by Frans van Mieris, after his grandfather Willem van Mieris’ prototype. Even Frans’ uncle Jan had a go at the composition. All three treatments are different, and I love seeing the way that the grandfathers initial conception was adopted and adapted by his family. Willem’s is in the collection of Her Majesty the Queen at Hampton Court Palace, Jan’s is in the collection of one of my favourite museum’s in London, The Wallace. If Frans the Younger’s version could end up on the wall of my tiny house in Tooting in South London, I would be in good company!


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