• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 2175

    Old Masters and 19th Century Art

    4 June 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 128

    Anglo-Flemish School, circa 1640

    An architectural capriccio with elegant figures by the Arch of Constantine, a bay beyond

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    Anglo-Flemish School, circa 1640
    An architectural capriccio with elegant figures by the Arch of Constantine, a bay beyond
    oil on canvas
    61 x 80¾ in. (155 x 205 cm.)


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    This capriccio dominated by the impressive structure of the Arch of Constantine can be counted among the many paintings of this site dating to the mid-seventeenth century, among them works by Viviano and Niccolò Codazzi. The artist at work here, likely a Fleming, takes a particularly fanciful approach to the subject, showing the Arch in a semi-ruined state, particularly in the attic (flat superstructure above the three archways) where the inscription, reliefs and marble statues should be. The structure is taken out of its Roman setting and transported to the edge of a bay. Inaccuracies in the architectural rendering indicate that this artist is unlikely to have seen this site in person, or at least did not study it from life, and may have worked from prints. The staffage, likely painted by another hand, is close in style to Adriaen van Stalbemt.

    Saleroom Notice

    We are grateful to Dr. David R. Marshall for suggesting an attribution to Johann Oswald Harms (Hamburg 1643-1708 Brunswick), on the basis of photographs. Another work by the artist is in the Kunsthalle, Hamburg (see L. Salerno, Pittori di paesaggio del Seicento a Roma, Rome, 1980, no. 165, II, pp. 882-83).