Portrait of Henry VIII, from the Workshop of Hans Holbein the Younger, from the Collections of Castle Howard (left) and Lucas Cranach the Elder’s La Bocca della Verità, from a private collection (right).
Some time ago at Sotheby’s London, Lucas Cranach the Elder’s La Bocca della Verità (the ‘Mouth of Truth’), from a private European collection, sold for £9.3m (est. £6-8m), a huge new record for the German master, nearly doubling the previous record which had stood at £4.8m. Painted circa 1525-27, this German Renaissance masterpiece is among the most important works by the artist remaining in private hands. From a moment when Cranach’s subject matter was focused on the power that women exert over men, the painting depicts a woman accused by her husband of adultery who conceives of a cunning plan to deceive the mythical “mouth of truth”. It was said that anyone who did not speak the truth while placing their hand within the lion’s open mouth would lose it.
From the Collections of Castle Howard:
In the same sale, the powerful Portrait of Henry VIII, from the Workshop of Hans Holbein the Younger sold for£965,000 (est. £800k-1.2m). From the collections of Castle Howard, this magnificent portrait was painted in 1542, the same yearthatthe King’s fifth wife, Catherine Howard, was beheaded for her alleged adultery.Produced in the workshop of Henry VIII’s most famous court artist, Hans Holbein the Younger,it is considered the last official image of the King, who died in 1547. Also from the Castle Howard collections, Portrait of a Boy, by Ferdinand Bol, 1652, one of Rembrandt’s most celebrated pupils, soared to £5.2m (est. £2–3m), a new record for the artist and nearly four-times the previous record of £1.4m.
Landmark Prices for 17th-century Still Lifes:
There were new artist records for two exquisite 17th-century still lifes. Fede Galizia’s painting, Crystal fruit stand with peaches, quinces and jasmine flowers, 1607, among the earliest dated Italian still lifes, sold for £1.6m (est. £1.2-1.8m) setting a new record for the artist at auction. Galizia was one of a small number of innovative female artists who would play a key role in the emergence of this relatively new genre of painting in the 17th-century and her works are of considerable rarity and importance. Willem Claesz Heda’s stunning A Still Life of a Roemer, 1633, one of the finest examples from the pinnacle in the artist’s career, sold for£2.9m (est. £1.2-1.8m), the second highest price achieved for the artist.
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