doc. in Landshut 1510-1530
Two Welsch Putti c. 1515, lindenwood, height 30 and 36 cm IMAGES Dossier Tapestry with St. John the Baptist
late 15th century, Southern Netherlands or Ferrara Wool and silk, 113 x 63 cm IMAGES Dossier Simone di Niccolo 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 Adam Dircksz and workshop
Netherlands, c. 1520 Boxwood, 6.5 x 2.4 cm IMAGES Dossier Ornate Frame
Flanders (Antwerp), c. 1550-70 Oak, later polychromy, 156 x 90 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 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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At the end of the 15
th century Ercole I d’Este ruled over Ferrara, Modena and Reggio. Thanks to his judicious approach the dukedoms blossomed economically and culturally. The duke was married to Eleonora of Aragón with whom he had six children, including the later patron of the arts at the court of Mantua, Isabella d’Este. Alfonso, the eldest son, inherited the title of duke from his father in 1505. His wife Lucrezia came from the notorious Borgia family. However, in Ferrara, the family’s reputation did not stop her from being held in high esteem by members of the nobility, the common people, artists and especially by Duke Alfonso himelf who was deeply in love with her.
The demand for woven wall hangings had increased greatly since the 11
th century in Europe. This in turn had a positive effect on the production and quality of such tapestries and many exquisite works with pictorial motifs were created. As in the halls of the ruling families of old, the interiors of churches were also decorated with figurative pictorial wall hangings. Secular wall hangings, on the other hand, depicted courtly scenes or details from troubadour poetry and were an indispensable item for any princely ruler when travelling. Packed into chests they were loaded onto carts or beasts of burden and used to cover bare walls, add a little warmth and surround the owner with familiar images.
Woven tapestries were generally made of woollen yarn – a raw material gained from sheep that is washed, combed and spun into a thread. In the Early Middle Ages spinning was laboriously done by hand using a distaff and spindle. It was not until the end of the 13
th century that the spinning wheel was used. The processing of wool was largely the task of women just as weaving has been a typically female occupation since Antiquity, as Homer tells us in his ‘Odyssey’ in which Penelope, Odysseus’ wife, weaves a shroud for her deceased father-in-law Laertes and Ariadne, the unfortunate weaver, is set a challenge by Athena. But that is another story.
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.
Adam Dircksz’s ‘small wonders’ were probably made between 1500 and 1530 in his workshop in Delft that was then one of the most important cities in the County of Holland alongside Leiden and Haarlem. After Amsterdam, Delft was the largest city in the Low Countries; however, its was largely destroyed in a fire in 1536. Such city fires were often seen as God’s punishment of sinners. Delft was quickly rebuilt, not least of all thanks to the financial assistance of other cities und administrative bodies.
Since Antiquity there have been artists specialising in the carving of miniature figures and whole scenes. During the Gothic period such carvers produced miniatures in boxwood and ivory. In virtually all cases these focussed on religious topics. The advantage of these small works of art was that they could always accompany the owners on their travels. These in turn hoped the objects would provide protection and succour from evil powers and illness. Our miniature coffin was probably attached to a rosary and would have acted as a reminder of the transience of life and help strengthen its owner’s faith.
At the time of Adam Dircksz, the present-day Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and part of northern France belonged to the Burgundian Netherlands. Through the marriage of Mary of Burgundy with Maximilian of Austria the Duchy of Burgundy came into the possession of the House of Habsburg, with Brussels remaining the capital. Many Burgundian and Habsburg aristocrats and other wealthy citizens from the major trading cities at that time would have been among those who purchased Dircksz’s ‘small wonders’.
This magnificent object was created at a time of great unrest. As a result of the conflict between the Catholic Habsburgs under the iron hand of Philip II of Spain, in particular, and the Protestant Netherlands that sought independence from the Holy Roman Empire, the Eighty Years’ War broke out in 1568 that only ended in 1648 with the Peace of Westphalia. In the 16
th century Antwerp was one of the biggest cities in the world. Thanks to the river Scheldt it had become the wealthiest trading centre in Europe and an important cultural hub. The Spanish stadtholder Alessandro Farnese put a violent end to Antwerp’s shift to Protestantism; however, the upheavals of war ultimately led to the wealthy city’s demise.
The large frame with its clear architectural divisions is richly embellished with elements of the so-called
grotesque – a decorative style that combines tendrils, garlands of fruit, ribbons and fantasy figures of human and beasts based on works from Antiquity. At the end of the 15 th century sumptuous wall frescos had been uncovered in what had been Emperor Hadrian’s thermal baths and in the subterranean vaulted rooms of the Domus Aurea – the ‘Golden House’ – on Esquiline Hill in Rome, originally constructed at the time of Nero. Fascinated by the immense variety of motifs and figures, artists such as Raphael and Giulio Romano copied the decorative ornamentation that had been found in what was referred to as the ‘caves’. The name of the ornamental grotesque style comes from the Italian grotta, a cave. Cornelis Floris picked up on the reception of this style with considerable mastery and created series of ornamental engravings in the ‘Floris style’ that reached a wide public.
On the one hand, a frame served as a surround to a painting, on the other hand it fulfilled a practical function: its architectural superstructure was a form of protection and could also be used to mount the work on a wall. The materials were primarily wood, marble and metal. Over the centuries the design of the frame was conditioned by the style of the respective period. Originally conceived in a sacral context for altarpieces and religious paintings, in the Late Middle Ages frames also came to be used in secular settings and evolved into magnificently decorated, architectural works of art that were of equal value to the painting itself.
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.