‘Exceptional’ 500-Year-Old Religious Painting Found in Private Collection in Guernsey

A 500-year-old religious painting from the workshop of Flemish artist Pieter Coecke van Aelst was identified among a private collection in Guernsey. The triptych is slated to hit the auction block at Martel Maides Auctions next month.

Across three panels, the painting depicts the Adoration of the Magi, wherein the three wise men recognize Jesus as the son of God and bring him gifts, with Saint Joseph shown on the right and Balthazar on the left.

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Jonathan Voak, a painting specialist at the auction house, told the BBC that the discovery was “exceptional and unique”. Adding, “No signed and very few documented paintings by Pieter Coecke van Aelst have survived”.

Coecke van Aelst was born in Brussels, Belgium in 1502 and worked as a painter, sculptor, architect, designer, and translator. He joined the Guild of Saint Luke in 1527 in Antwerp, where he received a number of commissions including the design of the stained glass windows at Antwerp Cathedral.

Coecke van Aelst operated a large workshop with numerous assistants working under his tutelage. It is unclear if this work would have been produced by the artist, his assistants, or both.

Voak notes, however, the piece “bears a close resemblance to others ascribed to him” and ” is unique with its own peculiarities, not a copy or replica.” His incorporation of the wings into the central composition is one such example.

The piece is estimated to fetch between £150,000 and £200,000 ($190,230 and $253,640) at Martel Maids auction on March 7, which will also include four early 17th century old master drawings attributed to the circle of Flemish master Peter Paul Rubens.

The discovery of a lost Constable in Guernsey, which sold for £200,000 in 2023, has led to an uptick in private collection sales on the island.

Source: artnews.com

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