Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Half a Mostaert for a tenth of the price! Plus: finally found: the original artist behind this composition

Galerie de Chartres, located in an old church in France, sells on 8 April 2018 a "Flemish School, early 17th century" Crucifixion, estimated at 400 to 600 Euro.

It is the same composition I already discussed in February 2017 and December 2017. Most versions are given to Gilles Mostaert, some to Denys Calvaert. I said that it was an original composition by Mostaert, but the auction here correctly points out that it is directly based on a crucifixion by Marcello Venusti (1512-1579).

A good version of this painting is housed in Campion Hall. Their interesting page on it makes it clear that the composition is in its turn based directly on a drawing by Michelangelo (and the painting was even thought for a while to perhaps be an original by Michelangelo). Venusti seems to have often taken his inspiration from Michelangelo, as with this other blog post about a work by him.

That drawing by Michelangelo can be found in the British Museum. It's interesting to see how a work by Michelangelo became so popular in Flanders nearly a century later

Most versions I have shown have drifted further and further away from the Italian original, this one though is still rather close, with the angel(?) underneath the arms of Christ.

The closest Flemish version is probably the one sold at Christie's in 2005. That one fetched $33,600, so the 400 Euro for this half version, which needs cleaning, is a bargain.

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