A Vasari in the attic

Nov 15, 2020 | Auctions, Cutural Heritage, Highlights

The picture  from private collection, “The temptations of St. Jerome“, attributed to Giorgio Vasari, a brilliant painter, architect, historian and biographer of the Italian Renaissance, was sold at auction at a world-record price for the artist of 800,000 euros.

A great satisfaction for the auction house, and a supposedly good time for ancient art, even one should consider that this selling price is still around 16% of, for example, the 5 million euros paid for “Black Ground (Deep Light)” by contemporary artist Julie Mehretu. (Don’t you know her?)

Vasari’s painting, on whose autography none appears to have doubts, is accompanied by a free circulation certificate, and therefore can be exported outside Italy. We therefore do not know if it will remain in the country.

The painting is identical in its subject and size to the one exhibited at the Galleria Palatina in Florence, that Art-Test studied in 2010, during its restoration.

Given the almost perfect overlap of the version at auction with that in the public collection, a comparative study would have been interesting, a reflectographic survey, for example, to establish which of the two versions was the first, and to investigate the adherence to the execution methods in which Vasari excelled.

Art-Test, in fact,  had the pleasure of investigating many paintings by this extraordinary artist, and admiring, in addition to his sublime inventions, the extraordinary technical ability of himself and of his atelier.


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