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Newly discovered Veneziano is top lot at Bonhams Old Masters sale
Lorenzo Veneziano, Crucifixion sold for £1,688,750. Photo: Bonhams.

LONDON.- Lorenzo Veneziano’s newly discovered Crucifixion was the top lot at Bonhams Old Master Paintings sale today [Wednesday 6 December]. The ornate, tempera gold panel achieved £1,688,750 against an estimate of £400,000-600,000. In total, the sale made £3,571,500.

Veneziano – a pioneering figure of Venetian painting – brought a natural vitality to his figurative painting at a time when a flat, Byzantine style dominated. Inspired by the Florentine painter Giotto, Veneziano expertly combined fine draughtsmanship with exquisite Venetian-style colouring. The work presents a remarkable and exciting addition to art historians’ knowledge of the Trecento period in Venetian painting.

Other highlights from the sale are:

• Claude Joseph Vernet’s (Avignon 1714-1789 Paris) serene 18th century seascape Clair de Lune achieved £752,750 against an estimate of £100,000-150,000. It came to auction from the collection of the late Boris Christoff, the celebrated opera singer. This work was one of a pair that was commissioned for New Wardour Castle in Wiltshire, the home of Henry, 8th Baron Arundell. The other work, The Shipwreck, now hangs in the National Gallery of Art, Washington.

• Jan Baptist Weenix (1621-1660) A Mediterranean Harbour Scene with Figures Gathered achieved £62,500 against an estimate of £15,000-20,000. A key figure of the Dutch Golden Age, Weenix was influential in bringing the Italianate seascape to Northern Europe. The painting was known to have once belonged to the 2nd Marquis of Breadalbane.

Bonhams Head of Old Master Paintings, Andrew McKenzie said: “It was thrilling to bring such an important work as Veneziano’s Crucifixion to auction. The painting, which belonged to an Italophile English family for more than a century, has only recently come to the notice of art historians, who have declared it an astonishing addition to our knowledge of Venetian painting. Veneziano was instrumental in bringing naturalism and reinvigorating the culture of La Serenissima beyond the classical, Byzantine style. We are delighted that there was such a contest in the room and on the phone for this wonderful painting.”

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