$12m Hendrik Goltzius painting to sell

Hendrik Goltzius was an exceptionally accomplished engraver in his early life but until 1600, when he was around 42, he did not try his hand at painting.

He had a reason to be more comfortable with his first favoured art form. His right hand had been seriously damaged in a fire when he was a child, but he discovered he could hold a burin, (the engraver's primary tool) more comfortably than most.

Nevertheless, painting was considered the superior art form in the Netherlands during that early Baroque period, and Goltzius quickly became accomplished at that too, becoming the most highly regarded painter in the country.

The work which has been put up for auction by Sotheby's (where two works by Van Dyck are also to be presented) is Jupiter and Antiope. Antiope was one of several human women Jupiter had affairs with in Roman mythology, and this particular story is told in The Ovid.

Jupiter and Antiope by Hendrik Goltzius
Jupiter and Antiope by Hendrik Goltzius
(Click to enlarge)

Jupiter appears here as a satyr, ready to spring on the nude Antiope, who is sleeping. A third figure appears in the background, reaching in to pinch Antiope's nipple. His role in unclear, though it has been suggested that in pointing to his mouth he is indicating that it is Antiope who is to be devoured by Jupiter, rather than the apples the god is holding.

The large (48 by 70 in) work is estimated at $8-12m, and will no doubt provoke excitement from collectors at Sotheby's sale on January 28.


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