Wednesday, 20 June 2018

"Ca. 1480" or "First half 17th century"?

Pforzheimer, from Germany, sells on 23 June 2018 as lot 338 a "Follower of Robert Campin, ca. 1480" Virgin and child, estimated at 6,000 Euro.

The work, a copy of a famous work by Campin from the St├Ądel in Frankfurt, was according to the RKD previously sold by Phillips London in 1998, but then described as "First half 17th century", which seems more correct based on the background.

Not many old full-length copies of this work are known, making it interesting, and it shows how long the work of Campin was appreciated in the following centuries before it became largely forgotten. But that doesn't justify dating this copy to a very early 1480, which doesn't fit the style at all. Late 16th century would be the very earliest, but 17th century seems a perfect match, looking at the way e.g. the clothes are made more shiny, and how the drapery is placed behind the scene.

This of course has an influence on the value. 6,000 Euro would have been very cheap for a 1480 painting of this size and reasonable quality, but seems the max this work can achieve when one considers its real age. But it has the distinction of being the first Robert Campin copy I have highlighted!

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