Loading..

Product was successfully added to your shopping cart.





Masterworks

MASTERWORKS

Superb art for the discriminating collector . . .

 
  • Eastern Europe, Russia, ca. 19th century CE. An enormous minyeaia or calendar icon, a veritable timetable of sainthood with each figure identified, displaying the feasts of the entire liturgical year, skillfully painted in brilliant jewel tone reds, blues, and greens, more unusual whites, pinks, and aquas, as well as browns and ochres of the monks, martyrs, virgins, deacons, and bishops against a glimmering gold leaf ground. Not one color dominates; instead they coexist in breathtaking harmony, a visual reflection of heavenly splendor. Size: 35" W x 42.5" H (88.9 cm x 108 cm)

    Icons of this grand scale called minyeia depicting the calendar year were very popular in Russia during the 18th and 19th centuries. A minyeia like this example would have hung in a home or a church as worshippers used them to celebrate the feast days. Note that this calendar begins in September, because the Orthodox church calendar begins in September with a celebration of the Nativity of Mary, mother of God, referred to in Orthodox Christianity as the Theotokos. An excerpt of the text opposite the page featuring this Minyeia or Calendar icon in the "Windows of Heaven" exhibition catalogue reads as follows, "Minyeia usually show 12 reserves representing the months of the year. Each reserve portrays the events and saints celebrated on each day of that month. In the center, scenes of the Resurrection and descent into Hades are featured, bordered by Paschal (or Easter) scenes. The outer frame is painted with 96 miraculous images of the Mother of God as celebrated on the church calendar." (Jeanne Marie Warzeski, "Windows into Heaven: Russian Icons from the Lilly and Francis Robicsek Collection of Religious Art")

    Calendar icons portray the feast days of the saints in chronological order, usually alternating with movable liturgical feasts, as dictated by the Orthodox calendar, which begins on the first of September. Calendar icons may be referred to as menologia (annual) or synaxaria (monthly), and their many panels are modeled on miniatures featured in manuscript collections of saints' lives. Sometimes the artist has elected to depict saints who are celebrated the same day together, and other times only the first saint celebrated is depicted. Most often saints are depicted standing; however, martyred saints are typically shown at the moment of their martyrdom. The background color for the icon is oftentimes significant, chosen to distinguish various categories of saints. Menologion icons are exhibited in the church on a special lectern called the analogion.

    Exhibited in "Windows Into Heaven: Russian Icons from the Lilly and Francis Robicsek Collection of Religious Art" at the Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte, North Carolina (December 20, 2003 through February 22, 2004) which presented highlights of one of the world's great artistic traditions through an extraordinary group of sixty-five 18th and 19th century Russian icons on loan from the private collection of Lilly and Francis Robicsek. Also featured in an exhibition of the same name at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh, North Carolina October 4, 2013 through March 5, 2014. Published in the catalogue accompanying the North Carolina Museum of History written and compiled by curator Jeanne Marie Warzeski.

    Icons (icon means "image" in Greek) are sacred objects within the Eastern Orthodox Christian tradition. Found in homes as well as churches, these painted images depict holy persons and saints as well as illustrate scenes from the Scriptures. Some icons are encased in precious metal covers (oklads) adorned with pearls and semi-precious stones or glass-fronted wooden cases (kiots). Icons are not worshiped, but are instead venerated for their ability to focus the power of an individual's prayer to God. As such they are truly "windows into heaven."

    The “Windows Into Heaven” exhibition profiled a magnificent chapter of Russian artistry, the embrace of the Russian Orthodox faith of religious icons during the Romanov centuries. The Russian religious faith was an offshoot of Byzantine Christianity, which in 1054 parted ways from Roman Catholicism. Icons were and continue to be religious images created for veneration. As a focus for prayers and meditation for believers, icons serve as “windows into heaven.”


    Condition: This icon was created from three large pieces of wood; over time the seams have become visible. Otherwise, expected losses to pigment and gold leaf. Brown gesso border, which was probably added later, has some reattached areas and losses as shown. A few large but stable vertical fissures to pigment along obverse side.

    Provenance: Ex-Lilly and Francis Robicsek Collection of Religious Art, Charlotte, NC; exhibited at Mint Museum of Art "Windows Into Heaven", Charlotte, North Carolina (December 20, 2003 through February 22, 2004) and North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh, North Carolina October 4, 2013 through March 5, 2014

    All items legal to buy/sell under U.S. Statute covering cultural patrimony Code 2600, CHAPTER 14, and are guaranteed to be as described or your money back.

    A Certificate of Authenticity will accompany all purchases

    We ship worldwide and handle all shipping in-house for your convenience.
    Learn More

    Huge / Grand 19th C. Russian Minyeaia Icon, ex-Museum

  • Magna Graecia, Campanian, Capua, by a painter of Trendall's AV Group, either the Libation Painter or the Astarita Painter, ca. 340 to 320 BCE. A wonderful red-figure bell krater - a vessel used for blending wine and water - of a characteristically bell-shaped body, upturned twin loop handles, and flared rim, all upon a concave, tiered, round foot. Side A features a proud Samnite warrior, riding a valiant white horse and wielding a grand shield. Side B features a pair of draped maidens standing in profile and facing one another with a rosette in the field between them. The groundline features a fretted pattern, a band of laurel leaves graces the underside of the rim, and large stylized palmettes grace the areas below the handles with flowering tendrils to either side. The marvelous red-figure iconography is also embellished with fugitive white and red pigments, making for even more intriguing visual imagery. Size: 9.5" W handlespan x 10.875" H (24.1 cm x 27.6 cm)

    According to A.D. Trendall, "Perhaps the most characteristic vases of the AV Group are those by the Libation Painter and his two chief colleagues, the Astarita and Manchester Painters (299-306). They are fond of depicting scenes with Samnite warriors, often in the company of a woman, who wears a cape fastened with a brooch at the throat, and a peculiar local headdress (300), of rather medieval aspect." (A.D. Trendall. "Red Figure Vases of South Italy and Sicily", London: Thames & Hudson, 1989, p. 165) The two opposing females on Side B of this krater fit Trendall's description.

    The red-figure technique, invented in Athens around 525 BCE and beloved by artists of Magna Graecia including the painter of this bell krater, was a very exciting innovation in Greek vase painting. This technique allowed for much greater flexibility as opposed to the black-figure technique. Suddenly the artist could use a soft, pliable brush rather than a rigid metal graver to delineate interior details, play with the thickness of the lines, as well as build up or dilute glazes to create chromatic effects. The painter would create figures by outlining them in the natural red of the vase, and then enrich these figural forms with black lines to suggest volume, perspectival depth, and movement, bringing those silhouettes and their environs to life. Beyond this, fugitive pigments made it possible for the artist to create additional layers of interest and detail as we see in this example.

    Condition: Cracks on lower section of body - possibly pressure cracks or possibly indicative of repair. Normal surface wear commensurate with age with scuffs, nicks, and areas of pigment loss as shown, though the iconographic and decorative programs are still strong. Royal Athena label on underside of foot.

    Provenance: ex-private New York, New York, USA collection, acquired at Royal Athena Gallery, New York, New York, USA (Royal Athena label on underside of foot)

    All items legal to buy/sell under U.S. Statute covering cultural patrimony Code 2600, CHAPTER 14, and are guaranteed to be as described or your money back.

    A Certificate of Authenticity will accompany all purchases

    We ship worldwide and handle all shipping in-house for your convenience.
    Learn More

    Campanian Bell Krater, AV Grp Painter, ex-Royal Athena

  • Greece, Athens, Late Attic, ca. 350 BCE. A lovely calyx krater depicting intriguing figural scenes and wonderful decorative motifs in the field. Side A presents a seated female - perhaps Aphrodite, perhaps a bride - partially nude with her breasts revealed, holding a flowering garland in her outstretched hands. Behind her is Eros with grand wings and nude save the wreath adorning his curly coiffure. In front of her is a male standing in contrapposto, also nude save a cloak draped over the crook of his left arm with folds of drapery falling behind his body, and a wreath adorning his wavy coiffure. Both flanking figures gesture toward the seated female, the standing man about to place a headdress on the woman's updo. Side B features two opposing draped youths holding a strigil and diskoi. All is delineated via the red-figure technique with added fugitive white pigment used to highlight the female's skin as well as the wreaths and garlands. Size: 8.75" in diameter x 10.25" H (22.2 cm x 26 cm)

    Just who might this lovely lady be? Given the presence of Eros, it is possible that the female represents Aphrodite; however, it is also possible that she is a bride based on other examples. Certainly, her nudity may be deemed inappropriate before a male onlooker. Nevertheless, such imagery is not unheard of in Greek vase painting.

    Contributing to the decorative program of this vase is a register of Greek key below each scene - the band below the seated Aphrodite/bride also showing a central square crossed by an "X" with dots occupying the interstices below. In addition, frets run around the perimeter of the outfolded rim, and a band of laurel leaves adorns the underside of the flared rim.

    Condition: Rim to upper section (across Eros' wings) repaired from about a half dozen pieces. Otherwise, the rest of the vessel is intact with original handles and painting. Expected surface wear commensurate with age showing areas of pigment fading/loss, though most of the imagery is still quite legible. Areas of encrustation on handles, body, and interior as shown. Slight remains of wax on underside of base presumably for securing in former display. "754" handwritten on underside of base.

    Provenance: ex-private T.S. collection, San Diego County, California, USA, acquired between 25 and 40 years ago

    All items legal to buy/sell under U.S. Statute covering cultural patrimony Code 2600, CHAPTER 14, and are guaranteed to be as described or your money back.

    A Certificate of Authenticity will accompany all purchases

    We ship worldwide and handle all shipping in-house for your convenience.
    Learn More

    Greek Attic Red-Figure Calyx Krater - Aphrodite & Eros

  • Roman, the Levant, late Imperial Period, ca. 3rd to 5th century CE. A spectacular mosaic presenting a quilt-like pattern of repeated geometric star motifs - each stellar form comprised of central diamond shapes with radiating triangles from each side with elongated diamond shapes nested between the points. The composition - comprised of square, triangular, and diamond-shaped stone tesserae in a vibrant color scheme of red, beige, black, yellow ochre, grey, and white hues - makes for a dazzling optical illusion with an upper and lower black border that is truly a feast for the eyes! Size: mosaic composition measures 50" W x 21.25" H (127 cm x 54 cm); 51.875" W x 22.75" H (131.8 cm x 57.8 cm) including modern matrix and metal framing

    Mosaics (opus tesellatum) are some of our most enduring images from the Roman world, exciting not only for their aesthetic beauty, but also because they reveal what Romans chose to depict and see every day decorating their private and public spaces. This example demonstrates the ancients' fascination with design, optic, as well as geometry.

    In the Roman province of Syria, which encompassed most of the ancient Near East/Levant, mosaics developed as a common art form relatively late, with most finds coming from the 3rd century CE or later. Syria was one of Rome's wealthiest provinces, but it was also far removed from Rome itself and Roman culture was overlaid on enduring cultural traditions from Hellenistic Greece and the great civilizations that came before it. Antioch-on-the-Orontes (modern day Antakya, Turkey), was the capital of northern Roman Syria, and its excavations in the 1930s revealed more than three hundred mosaic pavements - of which many embellished public baths. Popular mosaic themes from this region were often mythological or religious scenes, depicting gods and goddesses; however, sometimes mosaics were created to fit the theme or design of a building or room.

    Condition: Expected surface wear with minor losses, nicks, fissures, recessions, and abrasions to tesserae commensurate with age. Set in a modern plaster matrix with a metal frame.

    Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection

    All items legal to buy/sell under U.S. Statute covering cultural patrimony Code 2600, CHAPTER 14, and are guaranteed to be as described or your money back.

    A Certificate of Authenticity will accompany all purchases

    We ship worldwide and handle all shipping in-house for your convenience.
    Learn More

    Roman Stone Mosaic - Intricate Geometric Star Pattern

  • Near East, Palmyra, Roman Imperial Period, ca. 2nd to 3rd century CE. A finely carved Palmyrene limestone head of a youthful female beauty, her quixotic visage comprised of large almond-shaped eyes with generous upper lids, incised irises, and petite depressions for pupils, framed by elegantly arched browline that merges seamlessly with an aquiline nose, a bow-shaped closed mouth below, apple cheeks, and smooth facial planes - topped by an elaborate coiffure of incised wavy tresses adorned with a 'beaded' hair ornament or crown and lovely drop earrings. Size: 7.375" W x 10.875" H (18.7 cm x 27.6 cm); 15.875" H (40.3 cm) on included custom stand.

    A distinct regional version of Roman funerary busts emerged in Palmyra. The figures and their elaborate ornamentation exemplified an attractive fusion of Western and Eastern influences. This Palmyrene lady does not show evidence of paint on the surface; however, given the polychromy of the famous "Beauty of Palmyra" (ca. 190 to 210 CE, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen) it is possible that she was once considerably less subdued than she appears today. This said, it is also possible that she was not intended to be painted.

    Palmyrene sculpture was made from a stone that is largely nonreflective - usually limestone as we see in this example; however, the ancient Palmyrene sculptors excelled at sharp, angular chisel work that resulted in strong patterns which made for dramatic silhouettes and shadows. Just imagine this piece in its dark, shadowy tomb environment - lit by candlelight so that its intricate surface patterns would come to life as it were, the smooth facial contours contrasting with the darkness surrounding it - quite a vision indeed!

    A Palmyrene limestone female head sold at Sotheby's, New York in 2015 for $37,500. Follow this link for the listing - http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/2015/antiquities-n09362/lot.27.html

    A Palymrene limestone male head sold at Christie's New York in 2008 for $32,5000. Follow this link for the listing - http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/ancient-art-antiquities/a-palmyrene-limestone-head-of-a-man-5078832-details.aspx?from=searchresults&intObjectID=5078832&sid=b13c79c7-a0ec-4cd9-9dd2-211179252793


    Condition: Losses to chin, nose, lips, browline, neckline, headdress / hairline as shown. Verso shows a chisel pecking marks. Overall, a remarkable example.

    Provenance: private Denver, Colorado, USA collection; ex-Hisperia Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; acquired in 1964

    All items legal to buy/sell under U.S. Statute covering cultural patrimony Code 2600, CHAPTER 14, and are guaranteed to be as described or your money back.

    A Certificate of Authenticity will accompany all purchases

    We ship worldwide and handle all shipping in-house for your convenience.
    Learn More

    Important Palmyrene Limestone Head of A Female

  • SOLD 12th C. Khmer Stone Naga-Enthroned Buddha
    Southeast Asia, Cambodia, Khmer Empire (Angkor culture), ca. late 12th to early 13th century CE. An enormous grey stone Buddha, seated on a three-tiered throne, with the flaring, hooded head of a giant naga, the serpent king Muchilinda, rising behind him protectively. His hands are in the Dhyana Mudra. This is a gesture of meditation, with the hands placed in the lap, right hand on left, with fingers full stretched out and palms facing upwards. The Buddha's face is serene, with a naturalistic and warm expression; he wears a skirt and has a crown topped by a detailed ushnisha. The serpent is well-rendered and symmetrical. A closer look at the throne reveals that it is the coils of the serpent's massive body. The story told here may be that Muchilinda is protecting the Buddha from heavy rain; this iconographic depiction of the Buddha is a common one from the reign of Khmer King Jayavarman VII (reigned ca. 1181 to 1218 CE), who established a cult based around it. Scholars believe that this may be because Jayavarman was disabled and snakes were associated with healing. The king is also known for the establishment of hospitals throughout his kingdom. Comes with custom stand. Size of statue: 12.35" L x 16.5" W x 33.5" H (31.4 cm x 41.9 cm x 85.1 cm); size on stand: 12.35" L x 16.5" W x 36" H (31.4 cm x 41.9 cm x 91.4 cm)

    However, some scholars question the Buddha/Muchilinda story, saying that it is based on a misreading of the sources. Naga cults were common throughout Indian, Sri Lankan, and Southeast Asian artwork during this period, but the symbolism is somewhat unclear. Some have proposed that nagas could be symbolic vehicles for elevating the dead - equating to transcendence. That is based on interpretation of artwork from around Angkor Wat and other parts of the Khmer world. Others see the inclusion of the naga as a holdover from earlier symbolic practices. Khmer art moved away from Indian styles in the 7th century CE to encompass its own framework; one example of this seen here is that this statue is carved in the round, rather than as a relief on a stela, which was common with Indian and Javanese Hindu and Buddhist sculptures that were previously influencing Cambodian art. From this, we can infer that Khmer sculptors would have desired their artwork to be viewed from all sides, and thus placed in the center of temples rather than against a wall. While this artwork was religious - priests supervised its execution - its realism is unmistakable.

    Condition: Figure has been broken/repaired at mid-section; signs of wear with small losses to knees and one of Naga's flares. Some surface pitting and wear. OF NOTE: Statues broken in half are far more rare/desirable because most Buddhas like this were decapitated when the Buddhists were overthrown around 1300.

    Provenance: ex-private Arizona, USA collection, acquired in Bangkok, Thailand in early 2000. All appropriate legal and federally-compliant import documents will accompany item.

    All items legal to buy/sell under U.S. Statute covering cultural patrimony Code 2600, CHAPTER 14, and are guaranteed to be as described or your money back.

    A Certificate of Authenticity will accompany all purchases

    We ship worldwide and handle all shipping in-house for your convenience.
    Learn More

    12th C. Khmer Stone Naga-Enthroned Buddha

  • Anglo-Saxon England, ca. 6th to 8th century CE. An exceedingly fine iron helmet comprised of two wide iron bands attached with rivets supporting an iron "crown." Anglo Saxons helmets, as well as Danish and Viking ones, had a conical shape in order to protect the wearer's head by deflecting direct blows. The most expensive ones, used by kings and nobles, were entirely made of steel and iron while less expensive ones had an iron 'skeleton' to which panels of animal horn, hard leather or even wood were fixed. The face, cheeks and the neck of the wearer were protected by additional elements made of iron plate or other materials. Size: 8" L x 7.6" W x 6" H (20.3 cm x 19.3 cm x 15.2 cm)

    The Saxons were fierce bearded warriors who fought with a ruthless, surprise attack style that intimidated many, even the Romans. Anglo-Saxon society revolved around warfare. Freemen were automatically warriors and were expected to fight from early adolescence. Teenage boys were often taken into a chieftain's household to be trained as warriors. Anglo-Saxon warriors were equipped with javelins and throwing axes as well as swords and shields. In particular a "scramasax" - a single-bladed dagger - was used for close-quarter fighting. Gesiths (serving-men and companions to the king) fought for their hlaford (lord/ breadgiver). Freemen were rewarded for their military service with (at first generally temporary) grants of land. The need to obtain more land for distribution encouraged policies of conquest, and the kings of Wessex were particularly successful because they were able to expand into Cornish territory. One of the most legendary was Alfred the Great, the King of Wessex from 871 to 899, who defended his kingdom against the Viking attempt at conquest and by the time of his demise had become the dominant ruler of England. For these reasons, he was the only English monarch accorded the epithet "the Great". The epithet was retained by succeeding generations of Parliamentarians and empire-builders who saw Alfred's patriotism, success against barbarism, promotion of education and establishment of the rule of law as supporting their own ideals.

    Condition: Intact save one small area, near choice.

    Provenance: Ex-private United Kingdom collection, acquired in the early 1980's.

    All items legal to buy/sell under U.S. Statute covering cultural patrimony Code 2600, CHAPTER 14, and are guaranteed to be as described or your money back.

    A Certificate of Authenticity will accompany all purchases

    We ship worldwide and handle all shipping in-house for your convenience.
    Learn More

    Ancient Anglo-Saxon Iron Helmet

  • Rome, Roman Imperial, ca. late 2nd / early 3rd century CE. From a corner of a carved basalt stone sarcophagus lid, in the form of a man's head, his deeply drilled locks falling in waves around his face, with large eyes and slightly gnarled brow, slightly agape mouth. Size: 7.88" x 7.88" x 6.3" (20cm x 20cm x 16cm).

    Provenance: Ex-private Sismann Collection, France acquired on the French Art Market prior to 1970.

    All items legal to buy/sell under U.S. Statute covering cultural patrimony Code 2600, CHAPTER 14, and are guaranteed to be as described or your money back.

    A Certificate of Authenticity will accompany all winning bids.

    We ship worldwide and handle all shipping in-house for your convenience.
    Learn More

    Rare Roman Basalt Acroterion - Male Head