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Antique paintings. Timeless icons

Antonio Gesino

About the vision of a painting, Sandro Bettagno, a great historian of Venetian art, loved to repeat: “In paintings one sees what one knows”. The collector always tends to search for sources, documents, previous attributions. This does not take away the uncertainty, but it is sufficiently satisfying. A journey begins with respect for the golden rules of quality, provenance and state of conservation. To these, a fourth is added – born of a visual global society such as the contemporary one – that demands that the work be iconic, that is to say, that it gathers within itself the greatest degree of recognisability expressed at the highest level known to the artist.
In the next sale of Old Paintings on June 25th three works meet these requirements, so much sought after by a nomadic collecting that increasingly rewards originality.

The first is a large canvas depicting the “Trionfo di Nettuno e Anfitrite” (Triumph of Neptune and Amphitrite) by Filippo Napoletano (Teodoro Filippo di Liagno [Naples/Rome? 1589 – Rome, 1629]), where the artist re-elaborates the manneristic suggestions of Jacopo Zucchi in a theatrical Baroque key.
The second is a model of the “Sposalizio della Vergine” (The Marriage of the Virgin) by Carlo Maratti (Camerano, 1625 – Rome, 1713) for the lost altarpiece of the Alaleona chapel in the church of Sant’Isidoro in Rome, which was entirely decorated by the master between 1652 and 1656 on behalf of Flavio Alaleona.
The third, finally, is an intense “Santa Caterina” (Saint Catherine) by Giovan Battista Boncori (Campli, 1633 – Rome, 1699), Pier Francesco Mola’s best student, an artist capable of combining a delicate naturalism with Bolognese and neo-Venetian accents with an elegant classicism of Marattian influence.