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What does that Flemish painting in New York?

706638580669eef09fdb63ef21671994 - What does that Flemish painting in New York?

Sotheby’s will auction tonight in New York a painting of Quentin Massys the Younger. It is a horrific marteltafereel where John the evangelist gently fried. How did that work our country out? With the blessing of the bishop of Antwerp, the catalogue lists.

If you tonight are suffering from insomnia, then you might be able to the streaming track of the auction of Old Masters at Sotheby’s in New York. Please pay attention to lot 19. That is called The torture of the evangelist …

If you tonight are suffering from insomnia, then you might be able to the streaming track of the auction of Old Masters at Sotheby’s in New York. Please pay attention to lot 19. That is called The torture of John the evangelist (113 to 159 cm) and is manufactured by Quinten Massys the Younger. The estimated price is between 300,000 and 400,000 dollars. If you are still looking, please have a look at the origin. The painting comes from Flanders. There is: ‘with the approval of the bishop of Antwerp.’ Tiens, it was not better in Flanders?

It is a oil on canvas. And not just on canvas. We see how the evangelist John in a cauldron with oil, while two executioners, for him, a crisp fire prepare. The idea came from the Roman emperor Titus Flavius Domitian, who, from his horse even comes to look or work a little hurry up. On the scene sees John, given the circumstances, it is still relatively very brave. According to the legend, he would unscathed from the adventure.

Foreign dating

As the painting by Quinten Massys was made, it would be quite a pity that our country had left. But the one Massys is not the other. Quinten Massys the Younger (1543-1589) was the son of Jan Massys and the grandson of Quentin Massys. To the dating on the cauldron to see, he realized this work in 1570. He was not yet even joined the Antwerp schildersgilde and it was still for he in London portrait-painter would be on Elisabeth I.

With that dating has someone deugnieterij trying to get out. The date is displayed in Roman numerals: MDLXX. In the course of its history has someone the ‘L’ removed, presumably to make the work fifty years earlier date, and to his famous bompa to can attribute. There stairs she at Sotheby’s, of course, not.

The present situation

It is true, we hear, that the Antwerp bishop gave permission. That was in 2007, not Johan Bonny, but his predecessor Paul Van den Berghe. The work came from one of the houses of the Antwerp beguinage, where a series of paintings stacked up lag. The house was in a questionable state and the paintings there were not much better. The diocese sold a package of six paintings and would yield some other works have it restored.

That reminds Rik Dupain, of the Antwerp auction house Amberes, still. There it was in October 2007, offered for sale. ‘The painting was in a pitiful state. It was in three places and cracked and there were long lines of fracture through it. There was a lot of paint peeled off and that people had been trying to stop it. It was full of fixeerplaatjes. It was very matte, as if there a layer of foil over it hung. Repair was so expensive, that the diocese chose the work to sell.’


Amberes offered as ‘Flemish School, second half of the sixteenth century’. Despite the vague name, the there are still 190,000 euros. “We have different experts show,” says Dupain. “None of them dared there are fingers to burn. In that lamentabele state were the signature and the date are not visible. So We were not sure that it is a Massys was. So we have also not signaled to the Topstukkenlijst. We had seen that it was a Massys was, we would of course have to do.”

The painting was purchased by a prominent antique dealer who was restoring and now on the international market. Could the diocese just his episcopal blessing? And had the auction house, then no duty to report? Since 2002, there namely such a thing as the Topstukkendecreet. It requires owners permission to ask for a major work of art outside of Flanders. Gives Flanders there is no admission for, then it should work itself purchases at the international market.

I learned that the ‘old version’ of the Topstukkendecreet only relates to works on a list of valuable pieces were. The martyrdom of John the evangelist stood there in 2007. In 2015 the regulations, however, extended to works that are not on the list, but that ‘rare’ and ‘indispensable’. Although it is not in a Flemish museum would look out of place, it is at the time lawfully conducted, we get to hear. But under the new regime, had been reported to be.

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