Full length St Dorothy worth $4m

The top lot in Sotheby's sale on January 28 is expected to be Hendrik Goltzius's Jupiter and Antiope, estimated at up to $12m.

However, a number of other remarkable works are also for sale, including a Van Dyck study and a full length (nearly six foot tall) oil painting of the virgin martyr St Dorothy by Francisco de Zurbaran, the Sevillian master who painted in the early to mid 17th century.

St Dorothy appears carrying a plate of apples and roses, turning her head to look out towards us. Her head tilts and draws the viewer in with a somewhat haunting quality.

Francisco de Zurbaran St Dorothy painting
Francisco de Zurbaran's St Dorothy

Her dark eyes and hair, and pale skin, contrast with the sumptuous colours of her flowing clothes, which are much more striking than the fruits and flowers carried. The figure as a whole contrasts with the murkiness of the background.

Zurbaran painted several full-length works, as there was great demand for these, especially of the saints. This, however, is one of the most compelling examples, especially of those in private hands, and is estimated at $3-4m.


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