Tuesday, 8 November 2016

"Four seasons" is actually "Four elements"

Cambi, from Italy, sells on 15 November 2016 a "Cercle of Jan Brueghel II" Allegory of the seasons, estimated at 2,500 to 3,000 Euro.

It actually is an "Allegory of the Elements" (water, air, fire and earth). It is similar to many such works made by Jan Brueghel I (together with Hendrick van Balen) and Jan Brueghel II (together with Jan van Balen).

The closest is a work by a follower of Jan Brueghel I and the Studio of Jan van Balen, which was for sale at Tajan in 1995 (found through RKD). While none of the elements can be said to be directly copied, the overall effect and structure is very similar.

Another version of that work can be found at Stourhead, a National Trust property in Warminster. 

The work is well detailed, not some rushed copy, and should be the work of skilled artists, although probably later than Jan Brueghel I. The third detail above shows "fire", a smithy being worked, and is indicative of how detailed and intriguing some of the background elements are.

Whether it is an original composition or based on another work is not clear, these works were often produced in series (as the above RKD example shows), but I haven't found other versions of this one.  But it seems to me authentic, 17th century, from the circle or even the workshop of Jan Brueghel II.

The work for sale is seriously underestimated in my opinion, getting this for 2,500 Euro would be a steal, and I would estimate it at at least 10,000 Euro.

UPDATE: sold for 32,000 Euro! Seriously underestimated indeed...

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