• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7633

    Old Master & British Pictures (Day Sale)

    3 December 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 125

    Frans Floris I (Antwerp 1519-1570)

    The Continence of Scipio

    Price Realised  


    Frans Floris I (Antwerp 1519-1570)
    The Continence of Scipio
    oil on panel
    30½ x 75 in. (77.5 x 190.5 cm.)

    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Contact the department

    The attribution to Floris was confirmed by Dr. Carl van de Velde, who saw the painting at first hand when it was on the market in 1999. He dated the work to the late 1540s, shortly after the artist's return from Italy, noting stylistic affinities with Floris' Judgement of Solomon, of circa 1547 (Antwerp, Musée des Beaux-Arts; C. van de Velde, Frans Floris. Leven en Werken, Brussels, 1975, I, p. 155, II, fig. 3). The subject, which is taken from Livy XXVI:50, was popular in the Renaissance as an example of good judgement; the Roman general Scipio, after his capture of New Carthage, is shown returning a beautiful captive to her betrothed. The subject was often displayed in courtrooms to admonish judges to give righteous verdicts. Indeed, the unusual make-up of the support - out of vertically aligned planks - suggests that it may have been intended as part of the panelling of a room, perhaps as an overdoor? The Judgement of Solomon, now in Antwerp, was once displayed in the City Hall, where the Court of Judgement had their gatherings.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Private collection, Belgium.
    Anonymous sale; Christie's, Amsterdam, 8 November 1999, lot 117.
    Anonymous sale; Sotheby's, London, 12 December 2002, lot 147.