Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Follow-up on one of my earliest posts: Aert Mytens now attributed to Francesco Furini instead

In January 2015, I made a lengthy post about a fine and cheap Aert Mytens painting for sale then at Bonham's for an estimated 2,000 to 2,700 Euro. I followed this two weeks later with another long and highly speculative post more firmly linking the painting to Mytens, and connecting it with a work by Caravaggio.

The work was then sold for £1,750, below estimate and way below my estimate.

I now by chance came across a listing at Priory Fine Art who sold the painting for £1,900 in April 2015. So, depending on the costs of selling through Ebay, they made a small profit (well, max. 10%, which isn't too bad of course) or a small loss; but again no spectacular price.

What caught my eye was that they attributed the painting to Francesco Furini. Furini (1600-1646) was a Baroque painter from Florence. This would date the painting some 50 years after Mytens. Some Furini works are indeed quite similar to this one in a number of aspects, e.g. the sculpted appearance of the figure, but in general the Furini works seem more modern, more Italian to me than the Mytens.

I found one work by Furini which is truly comparable, as it is a Magdalen as well and also (unusual for Furini) uses the same use of background as the Mytens. While Furini may well have been influenced by the Mytens (or more likely by Caravaggio), I don't think the two works here are by the same hand. The background and the way the body is treated (the musculature in the belly) show a markedly different approach. The folds in the cloth are also more angular in the Mytens compared to the Furini. Of course, perhaps the two works are by Furini but some years apart, but to me the attribution to Furini is not convncing and Mytens remains much more likely, certainly considering the other version of the work in the Royal Collection.

But it is clear that it is an interesting but hard to pinpoint work; which has been on the market too often recently to suddenly become really valuable.

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