My “coup de coeur” this year at BRAFA is this pair of paintings by Bartholomaeus Bruyn the younger, dated around the second half of the 16th century. Their attribution has recently been confirmed, and they have been auctioned many times, the last one in 1999, when, starting from an estimate of 12-18 pounds they reached 32,200 pounds, well beyond today’s asking price, even net of inflation: 60,000 euros.
The paintings are not exceptional from an artistic point of view, although they are pleasant and also interesting for the style of the clothes and jewels reproduced. See for example the strange headset, asymmetrical, has it been modified by restoration? And the flashy rings, not to mention the belt with that strange inlaid but pinless buckle?
You don’t know how I would like to see a reflectography of the artwork.
But that’s not what attracted me. The couple portrayed is more or less my age and my husband’s, 56 years old for the man and 54 for the woman, and it was exciting to be mirrored in two people who lived five hundred years ago.
It was also comforting to see how in the label mention is made of a diagnostic technique, dendrochronology, to confirm the dating. In the rest of the exhibition the tags are silent.