Simone di Niccolò Bianco, attr.
Loro Ciuffenna/Arezzo ? - 1553 Venice
Idealised Portrait of a woman in profile Venice, c. 1520/30, marble, 30 x 32,5 x 8.5 cm IMAGES Dossier Lion Aquamanile
North Germany, first half of the 14th century Copper alloy, 28.5 x 33,5 cm IMAGES Dossier Schenck, Christoph Daniel, attr.
Constanze, Germany, 1633-1691
Saint Sebastian Constanze, 1680, fruitwood relief with polychromy, 15.5 x 11.3 cm IMAGES Dossier MASTER I.C., prob. Jean de Court.
Ewer with Bacchanal and Procession France, Limoges, third quarter of the 16th century, h. 27 cm IMAGES Dossier MASTER I.C., prob. Jean de Court
Ewer with Nude Horsemen France, Limoges, third quarter of the 16th century, h. 26 cm IMAGES Dossier Hendrick van Holt, attr. to
Kalkar, Germany, c.1520-30
Saint Sebastian Oakwood, carved in the round IMAGES Dossier Girolamo Campagna
Verona 1549 - 1625 Venice, workshop
Diana, goddess of hunt Early 17th century, bronze, h. 55.5 cm IMAGES Dossier Madonna and Child
Franconia or Bohemia, second quarter of 14th century Lindenwood with original paint and gilding, h. 96 cm IMAGES Dossier Johann Baptist Hagenauer
Ainring near Salzburghofen (Freilassing) 1732–1810 Vienna, attributed to
Pieta Salzburg, c. 1755/60, alabaster, 25 x 28.5 x 17.5 cm, with pedestal 31.5 x 34 x 22 cm IMAGES Dossier ART DEALERS WITH PASSION IN THE FIFTH GENERATION
Since its foundation in 1880, the name Julius Böhler has stood for works of art of the highest quality. As an art dealer in the fifth generation, Florian Eitle-Böhler has close contact to major international as well as private collections. As an experienced connoisseur he would be pleased to advise you on the purchase and sale of exceptional works of art.
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Via dei Sette Ponti, the ‘Road of Seven Bridges’, that leads to Arezzo 30km (18mi) away, begins in Loro Ciuffenna. The first bridge that arches the river Ciuffenna in the centre of the little town has existed since the Middle Ages. Records show that a mill was constructed there back in the 11 th century. It is certainly possible that Simone di Niccolò Bianco travelled along the ‘Road of Seven Bridges’ to Venice, some 300km (186mi) away – a long distance in those days.
Simone di Niccolò Bianco, whose exact date of birth is unknown, was first mentioned in a document in 1521 from Venice. At this time Leonardo Loredan was the Doge of Venice. It was under his rule that the War of the League of Cambrai was fought against Venice by an alliance between King Louis XII of France, Pope Julius II, the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, Ferdinand of Aragón and several small Italian states. Although, under Loredan, Venice did not actually lose the war and managed to keep possession of large swathes of its lands, Venice’s omnipotence was broken. By the time the Doge died, Venice’s political heyday had passed.
The imaginative coiffure of the unknown beauty reflects the hairstyle of the Italian Renaissance that, in turn, was influenced by Antiquity. The artistically plaited braids and delicate curls are decorated with gems, ribbons and pearls. Lighter shades were very much
en vogue and, if not natural, were created by bleaching in the sun or with lemon juice. Men’s hairstyles were essentially very simple in comparison to women’s and no differentiation was made with regard to a man’s social standing.
The bronze water vessel in the form of a lion reminds us today of how precious water was and how carefully it was used in everyday life. A continuously available source in the form of pipe-fed water did not exist. Once water had been found, it was vital to check if it could be drunk. Water often had to be carried over long distances from trustworthy wells and springs to wherever it was needed. When looking at this beautiful aquamanile one can take a trip back in time in one’s mind’s eye to the early Middle Ages.
The prerequisite for making an aquamanile was a mastery of the lost-wax casting technique. This was a method that scarcely anyone in the west mastered at that time. The casting process is described in detail in the work
Schedula diversarum artium that appeared between 1100 and 1120 and was probably written by a skilled artisan monk called Roger of Helmarshausen, better known under the pseudonym Theophilus Presbyter. The frequency of lost-wax casts in Helmarshausen in the early 12 th century is especially striking. In his Schedula, Theophilus refers to the knowledge and skills of artists from the Orient.
The caliphate Baghdad was founded in 762 and, together with the port of Basra, was the centre of the blossoming artisanal metal working trade in the 8
th century. A beautiful vessel in the shape of an eagle, 38cm-tall, that dates from this period, is now in the collection of the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg. The artwork is also exceptional in that it bears an inscription referring to the year 180 H (796–797) and the name of the artist (Sulaiman). As it has not been possible to decipher the name of the place it was made, this still remains a mystery.
Danger coming from the sea
In this artwork, we are referring to Laocoön: In his myth, the
Aeneid (1 st century BC), Virgil reports how Laocoön, a priest of Apollo, warned the Trojans about pulling the Greek’s wooden horse into their beleaguered city. He was the only one to suspect that the supposed Christmas present from the Greeks could conceal Greek warriors. Hera and Athena, who had sided with the Greeks, sent two serpents from the sea to strangle Laocoön and his two sons. The Trojans took this to be a punishment from the gods for the sacrilege of their present and dragged the wooden horse into the city, thus sealing their own fate. Catholics and Protestants
The response of the Catholic Church to the end of the Reformation initiated by Martin Luther is referred to as the Counter-Reformation. After the Council of Trent in 1545, Rome attempted to repress Protestantism by force with the support of the Catholic Habsburg emperors. The Jesuit order, founded in 1534 by Ignatius of Loyola, was at the vanguard of the Counter-Reformation. The threat of Protestantism, however, did have its positive side: the Catholic Church examined its greatest shortcomings, reformed the training of priests and regulated the benefices and indulgences that had been grossly misappropriated.
In 1633, the year Christoph Daniel Schenck was born, Swedish troops still held on to the city of Konstanz, then in its second year, under the leadership of Field Marshal Gustav Horn. Thanks, however, to the strong defence under the command of Maximilian Willibald prince of Waldburg-Wolfegg, the enemy forces ultimately suffered considerable losses and retreated in October that year. Maximilian Willibald was an educated aesthete with wide-ranging interests. He survived the Thirty Years’ War and entered his second marriage in 1648, this time to the Flemish Duchess Clara Isabella from the House of Arenberg, who had a strong love of art.
The Dionysia or Bacchanalia were ecstatic festivals celebrating the god and the fertility cult, frequently heightened through alcohol or hallucinogenic fungi. Although basically adopted from Greece, the tradition of the spring festival combined Roman religious and Etruscan cultural elements. Every year, this exceptional period of festivity certainly brought many Romans great pleasure, similar in some respects to Carnival celebrations today. The ‘imported’ festival, therefore, enjoyed considerable popularity.
Plants and mushrooms, the consumption of which induced a state of ecstasy, played an important role in furthering the development of certain religions in a number of different societies worldwide. The first indications of the use of psychoactive fungi can be found in rock drawings (c. 5000 BC) on the Tassili plateau in present-day Algeria that show deities with mushrooms. Germanic peoples, for example, consumed the fly agaric species of fungi before communicating with their ancestors and spirits. The correct dose, however, certainly played an existential role.
Enamel is the name given to a material generally made of silicates (powdered glass) and oxides (pigments) that are applied to a substrate and melted at a high temperature over a short firing period. Over the course of the centuries, craftsmen developed a variety of different techniques and produced works of high artistic quality. The so-called
émail peint technique – painted enamel – is typical of the Renaissance. Our decorative vessel is a prime example of the mastery of this process.
Ajax was one of the major heroes of the Trojan War. In the
Iliad Homer describes him as a man of great stature who towered above everyone else. During the Trojan War Ajax fell in love with Princess Tecmessa who, after the violent death of her father, King Teuthras, was captured and included among the spoils of war. This union produced a son, Eurysaces, the later King of Salamis, the first of a dynastic line of rulers. Ajax did not live to experience his son’s successful reign as he committed suicide while the Trojan War was still raging.
A former episcopal palace from the 18
th century, designed by the Brousseau brothers, now houses the treasures of Limoges Art Museum. A collection of enamel artworks dating from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, unlike any other in the world, has been assembled here. It also displays Art Deco and contemporary objects that testify to the great tradition of enamel production in this city in central France.
When this beautiful jug was made, Henry III from the House of Valois was King of France and the country was in a very bad state politically due to the Wars of Religion between the Roman Catholics and the Huguenots. Despite the times, the aristrocracy and the wealthy bourgeoisie greatly admired beautiful and ostentatious enamel vessels from Limoges. Limoges was more than 300km (186mi) from the court at Fontainebleau or Paris – a journey that would have taken several days. When Henry III died childless in 1589, the House of Valois became extinct.
Kalkar: one of its ‘capital cities’
During Hendrick van Holst’s lifetime Kalkar was one of the seven ‘capitals’ of the Duchy of Cleves. Cleves, a territory within the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, can look back at a long history: in 1020 it was given the status of a county and in 1417 it became a duchy. The ruler’s seat was Schwanenburg and – for a time – Monterberg Castle near Kalkar. Following an inheritance dispute it fell to Brandenburg-Prussia in 1614.
Part of the Hanseatic League
By 1540 Kalkar had joined the Hanseatic League as a town affiliated to Wesel in order to improve its economic potential. The Hanseatic League, a confederation of merchant guilds from northern Gemany, opened up new trading possibilities to its members’ towns which were granted special privileges. The residents of Kalkar at that time not only benefitted from a healthy commercial climate but their own needs were also well catered for: the town, with a population of less than 5000, had 42 breweries! Kalkar’s membership in the Hanseatic League ended in 1618.
Court cartographer to Philip II
Christian Sgrothen was born in Sonsbeck in 1525, the son of the town clerk Peter Sgrothen. He worked as a painter and cartographer in Kalkar where he was granted citizenship of the town in 1548. From 1557 onwards he was in the service of King Philip II of Spain, as the court cartographer, for whom he surveyed northwest Germany, among other regions, and drew maps of Geldern-Zutphen, Westphalia, Jülich-Cleves-Mark and Luxembourg as well. Sgrothen’s cartographic work was the most important of the Lower Rhine area in the 16
th century. The polymath died in Kalkar in 1604.
In Roman mythology Diana is the goddess of hunting and the moon as well as the protectress of young girls and women. She is the equivalent of Artemis in Greek mythology, the daughter of Zeus and Leto, the twin sister of Apollo. Diana is often shown as a young huntress in a short tunic with a quiver of arrows and a bow, sometimes with a stag. Artists have taken a number of scenes from the myths surrounding Diana/Artemis as subjects for their works. The siblings Apollo and Diana were also very popular.
Andirons generally comprise two bracket supports on which logs are placed in a fireplace so that they are slightly raised off the ground. This improves the circulation of air significantly. Originally, andirons were simple rod-like irons or even solid blocks of metal. In the late Middle Ages and during the Renaissance in particular, pairs of fire-dogs were created out of bronze or brass and sometimes even fire-gilded. The brackets were also decorated with ornaments and figures, thus turning them into exquisite works of art.
Girolamo Campagna is considered one of the principal Venetian sculptors of the late 16
th century. He ran a large workshop in the city on the lagoon and was kept busy making many works on commission. The son of a blacksmith from Verona, he moved to Venice in 1549 to study under the sculptor Danese Cattaneo. Campagna became famous in his own right and his works were much sought after. An agent of the Duke of Urbion reported that Campagna had to be handled with kid gloves if you wanted to commission a work from him.
An imminent changeover of power in Prague
The Přemyslids have ruled Bohemia since the late 9th century. The last Přemyslid is Elisabeth who marries John of Luxembourg in Speyer in 1310. When she dies in 1330 the dynasty becomes extinct. Queen Elisabeth’s final resting place is in the family tomb in Zbraslav Abbey in Prague
When our Madonna and Child figure was created a new formal artistic language, the so-called ‘Soft Style’ – also known as International Gothic – was spreading across Europe. Typical stylistic elements in sculpture include an increasing three-dimensionality and the graceful and delightfully executed faces of the Madonna. How does such a development evolve? One reason was the appointment of Charles IV from the House of Luxembourg as Holy Roman Emperor. Charles grew up at court in Louvre Palace in Paris as a highly sophisticated young man. In 1364 the extremely polyglot Luxembourger, who spoke French, Italian, German and Czech, is elected Holy Roman Emperor. The seat of power is Prague. The emperor aims at turning the capital of Bohemia into the centre of art in Central Europe. From this time onwards, famous artists take the major west-east trading routes to Bohemia. Cities and whole regions that lie along these routes benefit from the artistic and cultural interchange. A formal artistic language takes shape and the style becomes more international.
Mobility in the Middle Ages
For Emperor Charles IV a link between his Bohemian territories and his homeland in Luxembourg via the imperial cities of Nuremberg and Frankfurt is paramount. Ever since the 13th century the so-called Golden Road has served as the most important trading route between Nuremberg and Prague. Charles IV extends the existing route as far as Luxembourg and declares it an Imperial Road. Incidentally, the stone bridges in Frankfurt (1276) and Regensburg (1135) that enable the rivers Main and Danube to be crossed play a decisive role and attract merchants to these cities.
Rise of a Centre of Learning
Emperor Charles IV attracts thinkers to Prague
Thanks to the bull of Pope Clement VI and the charter drawn up by Charles, King of Bohemia, Carl University in Prague is founded, the oldest university in Central Europe. Modelled on the University of Paris it is divided into four faculties – theology, law, medicine and philosophy.
The Mother of God and her Son
The greatest love – the most profound pain
A pietà is a depiction of the Virgin Mary as the Mother of Sorrows (Mater Dolorosa), cradling the body of her son in her lap after he had been taken down from the cross. This pictorial tradition emerged in the Middle Ages when there was an intense interest in Christ’s suffering on the cross and the Virgin Mary mourning her son. Through such emotional proximity, the devout strove to identify more closely with the notion of salvation. Pietàs can be found in most Catholic churches. The scene forms the second to last station along the Way of the Cross. The pietà is also known as a Vesperbild in German (lit.: an image venerated at vespers), based on the assumption that the Virgin held the body of Christ on Good Friday roughly at the time evening prayers are said.
Johann Baptist Hagenauer is considered one of the most important sculptors of his day. He was born in 1732 in Ainring near Freilassing that came under the Prince-Bishopric of Salzburg. He is artistically extremely talented and soon finds recognition. His uncle Lorenz Hagenauer and the Archbishop of Salzburg, Count Sigismund Schrattenbach provide for him to study at the Royal Academy in Vienna. Schrattenbach also finances a journey to Italy with periods of study in Rome and Florence. After his return, Fortune smiles down on him both with regard to his artistic career and his private happiness. Archbishop Count Sigismund Schrattenbach raises him to the position of Archiepiscopal Gallery Inspector and, in 1764, Hagenauer marries Maria Rosa Barducci. The Italian beauty comes from an artistic family and is herself an artist. She is Hagenauer’s favourite model and the inspiration for the statue of the Virgin Mary on the cathedral square in Salzburg, as well as for numerous other works.
Maria Theresa of Habsburg
Emperor Charles VI changes the line of succession. A king’s daughters are also permitted to rule from now on should the Habsburg Monarchy have no male heir to the throne. After his death, his eldest daughter, Maria Theresa, succeeds him. The houses of Wittelsbach, Saxony, Prussia and France, however fight this reform. After eight years, the Austrian War of Succession ends in 1748 in a victory for Maria Theresa, a great admirer of Johann Baptist Hagenauer’s skill as a sculptor, to which the above mentioned quotation by her imperial majesty testifies.