The artworks of the galleries


Strait of Malacca - Admiral Wharton, 1896 - RARE 19TH CENTURY MAP OF THE MALACCA STRAIT "Malacca Strait - Butang Group to Pulo Berhala", engraving by Davies & Company published in London by the British Admiralty on 23 May 1896 under the superintendence of Rear Admiral Sir W.J.L. Wharton. Size: 114 x 77 cm. In 1795 King George III created the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office to provide top notch nautical charts to the vast Royal Navy. Prior to the founding of the Admiralty the surveying and creation of nautical charts was primarily a commercial venture in which the cartographer himself, more often than not, actually financed the printing of his own material. The great navigator James Cook himself is known to have scrambled for funds to publish his own seminal charts - the most important and advanced of the period. The system of privately funded nautical mapping and publishing left vast portions of the world uncharted and many excellent charts unpublished. King George III, responding to significant loss in trade revenue related to shipwrecks and delay due to poor charts, recognised the need for an institutionalised government sponsored cartographic agency - the Admiralty. The United Kingdom Hydrographic Office is still in operation today. On this rare and large 19th century nautical chart or maritime map we see the Malacca Strait with Langkawi, the "Jewel of Kedah" the archipelago of islands some 30 km off the coast of what we now call northwestern Malaysia. (In those days still the sultanate of Kedah.) Further south, off the coast of Perak, there is Penang Island, an important center of spice production within Southeast Asia. George Town on Penang was capital of the Straits Settlements from 1826-1832 and an important British entrepôt. By the end of the 19th century the city had evolved into a leading financial center in Malaya. For an adjacent chart of the Malacca Strait to the south, please check here. Price: Euro 750,-

750 EUR


Jacob de Backer - Venus and Mars surprised by Vulcan 16th-century Antwerp school, circa 1580 Surroundings of Jacob De Backer (Antwerp, 1545 - 1585) Oil on oak panel, dimensions: h. 49, l. 64 cm Carved and gilded wood frame, late period Framed: h. 64 cm, w. 77 cm The subject of our work is taken from Ovid's Metamorphoses, in which the author tells the story of the love affairs of the Olympian gods. Many interpretations of this story were successful during the Renaissance, illustrated by famous Italian and Nordic painters such as Tintoretto, Wtewael, De Clerk and Goltzius, Paris Bordone and others. Our artist depicts the scene in the intimacy and penumbra of a bedroom, lit by candlelight to dramatize the event. As in a theater, once the curtain is raised, the scene unfolds before the viewer. Venus and Mars on their bed are surprised by the unannounced arrival of Venus' husband, Vulcan, who, armed with a candle, surprises his wife in the company of her lover. Modest, she tries to hide her nudity under the sheets, while Mars, faithful to his status as a lover, prepares to draw his sword and punish the newcomer. At the foot of the bed, an armchair and a table, the beautiful dress with its red velvet corset is laid out when the beautiful goddess has undressed, and Mars' helmet and breastplate are placed on the bed. The jewels are placed on the armchair, along with a mirror. Vulcan appears in the guise of a young man, hastily dressed, as evidenced by an exposed shirt sleeve, and barefoot. The nonchalant-looking goddess, exposing her nakedness, raises her right hand to calm her lover and prevent bloodshed. In the background, two maids talk to each other outside the door, witnesses to a domestic scene and perhaps the ones who alerted the unfortunate husband. The artist chooses to present this scene in the half-light of a bedroom lit only by candlelight, to amaze us with her skilful interplay of light and shadow, her dazzling brushstrokes illuminating certain parts of the scene. The rich, intense color palette, the use of chiaroscuro, the modelling of the naked bodies with their pronounced muscles, delicately sculpted using shades of gray on the young woman's body, more beige-brown on the two men's bodies. The artist adds small details of everyday life to transport the painting from the era of the Olympian gods to the contemporary world, as evidenced by the chamberpot in full view at the foot of the bed. The mirror and jewelry are delicately placed on the armchair. A testimony to a pronounced taste for mythological scenes, imbued with Nordic mannerism and the chiaroscuro of the rising Caravaggesque influence, our painting was originally intended for an astute and refined collector to embellish his interiors or even his private cabinet. Jacob De Backer Antwerp, 1545 - 1585 A highly regarded painter of mythological and religious subjects in his time, and a renowned Italianist in the manner of Floris, he trained in Florence and Rome, where he stayed between 1557 and 1560, and is said to have been a pupil of Antonio Palermo, then Hendrick Van Steenwijk. According to Van Mander, he died at the age of thirty, but no mention is made of his birth and death dates. Most of his works have disappeared. We do know that he painted the Triptych of the Last Judgment for the Church of Our Lady in Antwerp, which still stands above the tomb of the printer Christophe Plantin, who died in 1589. His paintings include Jesus Blessing the Children in the Antwerp museum, Venus, Bacchus and Love in the Perpignan museum, a fine suite of the Deadly Sins in Naples, Capodimonte, Venus and Love in Berlin.

7,800 EUR