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Marcellus Coffermans (active Antwerp 1549-1578)
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Marcellus Coffermans (active Antwerp 1549-1578)

A triptych: central panel: The Visitation; left wing: The Virgin Annunciate; right wing: The Angel of the Annunciation

Details
Marcellus Coffermans (active Antwerp 1549-1578)
A triptych: central panel: The Visitation; left wing: The Virgin Annunciate; right wing: The Angel of the Annunciation
oil on panel
25 3/8 x 39¾ in. (64.5 x 101 cm.), the wings extended
Special notice

No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis

Lot Essay

The compositions of the two wings are known in other versions by Coffermans, including the pictures in the Wellington Museum, Apsley House (formerly in the Spanish Royal collection); in addition similar compositions of The Annunciation on single panels are known by him, for example those in the Prado, Madrid, and the Burrell Collection, Glasgow. The Wellington wings are recorded in the September 1773 appendix to the 1772 Royal Palace inventory has having still been attached to the central panel: 'An ancient painting on panel, originally a portable altar-piece, containing on the principal panel the Nativity and the two panels forming the doors the Annunciation.' That that altarpiece was portable is reflected in the much smaller proportions (12 1/8 x 3 7/8 in.) of the Wellington wings.

The composition of the central panel derives from the eponymous work of circa 1435-40 by Rogier van der Weyden in the Museum der Bildenden Künste, Leipzig (inv. no. 1550), which itself is thought also to have its origins in a miniature by the Boucicat Master (the Boucicat Hourse, min. IV-9, fol. 64v; Paris, Musée Jacquemart-André). That of the wings is based on the left wing of Rogier's 'Columba' triptych of circa 1450-6 (Munich, Alte Pinakothek, inv .no. WAF 1189-91); Coffermans, however, has reversed the positions of the Virgin and the Angel, presenting the latter as - unusually - approaching from the right.
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