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  • Posts Tagged ‘Orazio Gentileschi’


    Monday, January 16th, 2017

    Orazio Gentileschi

    Head of a Woman  by Orazio Gentileschi, which once hung outside the bedroom of King Charles I at Whitehall Palace in London, is a highlight Sotheby’s sale in New York on January 25.  It was sold off after his execution as his famous art collection was scattered across Europe and comes to auction now for the first time in 380 years.  In the interim the work, described as “Naked Woman” in the original inventory which detailed “the Picture of a woeman with her left breast naked her right breast covered with a part of her Smock”, has been altered.  The bottom of the canvas has been removed, possibly by a prudish owner. It dates from the early 1630’s and is one of two surviving works by the artist on panel.

    The impressive art collection of King Charles I was sold off by Parliament after his execution in 1649 to pay the late king’s debts. More than 1,300 paintings were consigned by Cromwell to Somerset House, where they were offered to the public. The sale has gone down in history both as a tragic loss of national art and for its odd detail, with a Titian painting famously given to a plumber to pay his bill.  Estimated at $2-3 million the proceeds of the sale will in part benefit the department of European Painting at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

    UPDATE: This sold for $1,812,500


    Friday, January 29th, 2016
    Orazio Gentileschi -  Danaë

    Orazio Gentileschi – Danaë

    Gentileschi’s Baroque masterpiece Danaë was the top lot at Sotheby’s $53.5 million evening sale of Master Paintings in New York. It made $30.5 million – more than seven times the previous world auction record for the artist.  The monumental work was acquired by the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.

    Commissioned in 1621 by the nobleman Giovanni Antonio Sauli for his palazzo in Genoa, the work captures a scene from the myth of Danaë in which the daughter of King Acrisius of Argo is spirited away to a secret chamber to dissuade all male suitors. While mortals are deterred, Jupiter, God of the Sky and Thunder, is not — he catches a glimpse and promptly falls in love with the princess, materializing in her bedroom as a shower of gold coins. In Gentileschi’s rendering, Jupiter’s arrival is announced by Cupid who pulls back the curtains to reveal Danaë.

    A figurehead of the Italian Baroque period, Orazio Gentileschi began his career in Rome where he, like many others of his time, worked in close proximity with Roman and visiting artists. By 1600, a young artist by the name of Caravaggio was a constant companion, whose friendship translated to great artistic influence. In his later years, Gentileschi became known as one of the most talented and distinct Caravaggesque painters, a trait that he passed along to his daughter, the most celebrated female artist of the 17th century, Artemesia Gentileschi.