Colin Gleadell picks some of the highlights of the Old Master sales for more in depth reporting:
The Christie’s sale was ledby a monumental but slightly claustrophobic view of the Courtyard of the Doge’s Palace, Venice by Michele Marieschi, considered by some to be the poor man’s Canaletto. That was until this same painting was bought in 1996 for a record £1.54 million by the German collector Gert-Rudolf “Muck” Flick to hang next to his Canalettos. However, Flick’s return was meagre, as the painting sold this time round on a single bid to New York dealer Otto Naumann for £2.2 million.
- Competition was sparkier for a painting, once thought to be a self-portrait by Raphael, but now given to the lesser-known Florentine Mannerist, Giuliano Bugiardini. Mannerist paintings were one of the stronger suits at these sales, and this portrait may have benefited from some “crossover” buying as it sold through a telephone bid for £825,250 – nearly four times the estimate.
- Estimated at £2.5 million to £3.5 million, The Massacre of the Innocents by Pieter Brueghel the Younger was pursued by dealers from Paris and Moscow before selling for £4.6 million – the second highest price for the artist at auction. As a measure of this artist’s popularity, a similar-sized version of this painting by Brueghel sold for £736,000 in 2005.
- Prometheus, a masterpiece by the Spanish painter Jusepe de Ribera, depicting a manacled Prometheus writhing in pain as he is attacked by an eagle. Thought to prefigure two of the artist’s most famous works, which are in the Prado Museum in Madrid, the painting sold for three times its estimated price to Antonio d’Amato, a collector from Naples where Ribera worked, for a record £3.8 million.
>Art Sales: Old Masters in London (Telegraph)