Art market and connoisseurship : a closer look at paintings by Anna Tummers, Koenraad Jonckheere

By Anna Tummers, Koenraad Jonckheere

The query even if seventeenthcentury painters comparable to Rembrandt and Rubens created the work that have been later offered less than their names, has triggered many a heated debate. a lot remains to be unknown in regards to the ways that work have been produced, assessed, priced, and advertised. for instance, did modern connoisseurs anticipate masters resembling Rembrandt to color their works totally via their very own hand? Who was once credited being able to determine work? How did a painting’s expense relate to its caliber? and the way did connoisseurship swap because the artwork industry turned more and more complicated? The individuals to this crucial quantity hint the evolution of connoisseurship within the booming artwork industry of the 17th- and eighteenth centuries. between them are the well known Golden Age students Eric Jan Sluijter, Hans Van Miegroet and Neil De Marchi. it isn't to be overlooked by way of an individual with an curiosity within the previous Masters and the early glossy artwork marketplace.

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58 Similar statements can be found in a variety of artistic commissions drawn up throughout Europe, witness, for example, a commission given to the Italian sculptor Bernini by the French minister of State Colbert on 9 December 1669. Bernini was to use students from the newly founded French Academy in Rome in the execution of an equestrian statue of King Louis XIV. indd 40 07-10-2008 16:33:58 AR T MAR KET A ND C ONNOISSEURSHIP 41 Phrases such as ‘the master’s own work’ or work ‘by his hand’ thus denoted a quality distinction.

3 Christiaan’s account is so vivid that it is not hard to imagine the excitement of these early connoisseurs. However, the precise considerations and assumptions of these gentlemen remain elusive. On what grounds exactly would they have attributed and de-attributed pictures? What elements were seen as particularly telling? Would they have differentiated between different types of studio products, and if so: how? It is very rare indeed that one can find evidence of early connoisseurs weighing arguments when making an attribution.

Interestingly, the passages that were labelled by the different early art theorists as particularly telling when trying to attribute a picture, show parallels with what was seen as ‘masterly’ and ‘difficult’, as we will see below, passages which were in fact often executed by the master. Although the specific areas that the different art theorists singled out as illustrative could also refer to secondary passages – in particular leaves and draperies were not necessarily key elements in a seventeenth-century painting – their description of how a master’s characteristic style can be recognised suggests that such elements were only considered important if executed soundly.

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