Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Beautiful underestimated Virgin and Child

Abington, from the United States, sells on 2 November 2017 an "Italian Bolognese Old Master" Virgin and Child, estimated at $2,000 to $3,000.

It is already surpassing the lowest estimate with a current bid of $2,300. And I can easily understand why it attracts such attention. It is a very good painting, clearly done by an accomplished master, and connoisseurs of Italian High renaissance or Early Baroque painting probably have found the probable artist already.

Not being a specialist, I have so far not gotten any further than "style of Federico Barocci" (1535-1612), a major painter from Urbino (not too far from Bologna) who got his education in Rome. But his work is softer, his Virgins younger, and more pinkish, less white.

I also saw some resemblance to the work of Simone Cantarini, but his paintings are sharper, more delineated.

The painting has some strange aspects, as if it is unfinished: the arm of the Virgin beneath the Child is transparent, and the leaf on the apple has the same colour blue as the clothes of the Virgin. But overall this is a very impressive painting which was clearly underestimated, and it is interesting to see whether it will go for $10,000 (the probable value of an anonymous work of this quality) or way beyond that (if people have recognised it as the work of some known master, or perhaps found it in an old auction catalogue).

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