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Orazio Gentileschi (1563-1639), The Crowning of Thorns. Oil on canvas, 52cm x 41cm (20 x 16 in.)© Colnaghi 2018

 NEW YORK, NY.- Colnaghi will show a rediscovered and previously unpublished painting by Orazio Gentileschi (1563-1639) at a spring exhibition in their newly-opened townhouse space in New York’s Upper East Side. Taking place from 27 January to 3 February 2018 as part of Master Drawings New York 2018, the exhibition will also include a selection of works by notable artists including Pedro de Mena (1628-1688) and Luca Giordano (1634-1705). In addition, and following the arrival of Carlos A. Picón as Director of the new gallery in New York, the exhibition will also showcase a fine group of antiquities. 

The Crowning of Thorns by Orazio Gentileschi (1563-1639) is an important rediscovery which has been in a private collection for at least several generations, hidden from the view of art historians and unpublished to date. Orazio Gentileschi was one of the most significant and innovative artists working in Italy during the beginning of the 17th century. Born in Pisa, he later moved to Rome where he met Caravaggio and was highly influenced by the artist, though over time he developed a softer, more refined version of Caravaggio’s dramatic style. He also worked in Genoa and Paris, before moving to London in 1626 where he was court painter to Charles II. This painting is oil on canvas and measures 52cm x 41cm (20 x 16 in.). It is linked to two other versions of the subject, of larger dimensions, both dated to 1610-15; it is likely the present version also dates to this period. 

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Pedro de Mena y Medrano (1628-1688), Ecce Homo and Virgin Dolorosa, Circa 1680-88. Carved, polychromed wood, 34.5x31x19cm. (13x12x71⁄2in.) (Christ) 34x31x20cm. (13x12x8in.) (Virgin). © Colnaghi 2018

These recently discovered sculptures are an exciting addition to the known works of Pedro de Mena (1628-1688), one of the most celebrated sculptors of the Spanish Golden Age. An exceptional wood carver and painter, Pedro de Mena was intensely religious and would often enhance his sculptures with glass eyes, human hair and real materials including rope, creating striking and hyper-realistic devotional figures.  

These depictions of Christ and the Virgin date from the artist’s later years, a period during the Counter Reformation and following the dictates of the Council of Trent. In these later years, the artist adopted a simplified type of modelling that aimed to concentrate attention on the suffering expressions of the figures, inspiring empathy and religious fervour on the part of the individual contemplating the work. Pedro de Mena produced sculptures of this type for the religious houses of enclosed Orders and for contemplation in private oratories; similar examples can be found in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge; Basilica del Gran Poder, Seville; church of San Felipe Neri, Mexico City; church of San Luis de los Franceses, Seville, the Museo Diocesano y Catedralicio, Valladolid; and the Museo Nacional de Escultura, Valladolid.  

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Luca Giordano (1634 – 1705), Apollo and Marsyas. Oil on canvas, 125 x 180 cm. (49 ¼ x 70 ¾).  © Colnaghi 2018

A masterpiece of Luca Giordano’s youth, this canvas depicts the story of Apollo and Marsyas, as recounted by Ovid and reflects the influence of Jusepe de Ribera on the young artist. In this work Giordano is looking to Ribera’s celebrated version of the subject, signed and dated 1637, now in the Museo di Capodimonte, Naples, with the composition dramatically foreshortened and inverted Marsyas, bound to a tree trunk, taking centre stage. From Ribera, Giordano also takes the youthful, classically idealised Apollo, placed to the left of Marysas, as well as the group of satyrs at the right, watching powerlessly in horror as the punishment of their companion unfolds. In both paintings, the delicacy and perfection of Apollo is contrasted with the horror of the flaying. The composition, full of nervous energy, is close-cropped, bringing the figures closer to the viewer and, in consequence, the viewer almost into the composition, allowing the picture to retain a strong sense of living spectacle, albeit one pervaded by a paradoxical sense of calm. 

Portrait Head of an Older Woman Bluish-white marble, probably Luna (Carrara) Roman, Julio-Claudian Period, mid 1st Century A.D. 24 cm. high 

Following the arrival of Carlos A. Picón as Director of the new gallery in New York, the exhibition will also showcase a fine group of antiquities. Among them is this strikingly attractive portrait head of an older woman. The sculpture was produced during a formative and highly sophisticated phase of Roman art, and one whose portraits are much less common than those from later Imperial times. The carving of the face is executed in the realistic yet tight and linear style of Julio-Claudian perspective, highlighting the sitter’s delicate yet exotic features and her elaborate hair-do