Allegory featuring Villa Medici in Rome stars in Bonhams Old Masters sale in London

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Allegory featuring Villa Medici in Rome stars in Bonhams Old Masters sale in London
Attributed to Sebastian Vrancx (Antwerp 1573-1647), Allegory of the months of March and April, with the Villa Medici. Estimate: £100,000 - £150,000. Photo: Bonhams.

LONDON.- The gardens of the Villa Medici in Rome have become known for their fragrance. In certain months, the lemon trees, lavender and oregano flowers, mix with woody aroma of the nearby cedars and the fragrance of the ancient stones in the heat of the sun. The changing of the seasons is particularly felt, making Allegory of the months of March and April, with the Villa Medici – which is amongst the highlights of Bonhams Old Master Paintings on sale on Wednesday 5 July at New Bond Street, London – particularly apt. Attributed to Sebastian Vrancx (Antwerp 1573-1647) the work has an estimate of £100,000 - £150,000.

Lisa Greaves, Head of Bonhams’ Old Master Painting Department, commented: “Allegory of the months of March and April, with the Villa Medici most likely formed part of six paintings, each illustrating two consecutive months of the year, which were acquired by William Smith in Rome in 1626, on behalf of Thomas Howard, 2nd Earl of Arundel. Their imagery derived from the calendars of medieval Books of Hours in which the evolving year was captured in changing seasonal activities of both agricultural labourers and their leisured masters. The work in our Bonhams sale is particularly impressive, capturing the turning of the seasons in a way that almost transports you to a past time outside the Villa Medici.”

Writing in the current issue of Bonhams Magazine, Susan Moore, notes: “Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel was arguably the most illustrious collector and patron of the arts Britain has ever known. He amassed every form of art, including a peerless collection of Old Master drawings, exceptional paintings, and classical Greek and Roman sculpture and gems…As the prints made after this particular series suggest, they had been commissioned from the highly successful painter, printmaker, and draughtsman Paul Bril (c.1554-1626).”

Read the full article Spring awakening HERE

Other highlights of the sale include:

• Jan Brueghel the Elder (Brussels 1568-1625 Antwerp), Hendrick van Balen (Antwerp 1575-1632) and Denis van Alsloot (Malines 1570-1628 Brussels), Orpheus charming the animals. Estimate: £100,000 - £150,000.

• Attributed to Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger (Bruges 1561-1635 London), Portrait of a girl, half-length, in an embroidered dress with yellow lace, holding a cat, within a painted oval. Estimate: £50,000 - £70,000.

• Bartolomé del Castro (active Palencia, first half of 16th Century), Scenes from the Life of Saint John the Baptist: The Baptism of Christ; John the Baptist in the wilderness; and Salome Asking Herod for the Head of Saint John the Baptist. Estimate: £60,000 - £80,000.

• Vincenzo Leonardi (Rome 1589-1657), Study of a purple heron (Ardea purpurea). Estimate: £25,000 - £35,000.

• Wenceslaus Hollar (Prague 1607-1677 London), View of Strasbourg from the northeast. Estimate: £6,000 - £8,000.

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