Metropolitan purchased the unknown drawing by Lucas van Leyden

L.van Leyden. Archangel Gavriil. Circa 1520. The Metropolitan Museum, New York

New York Metropolitan Museum is the only in the USA to have the work by Lucas van Leyden (Luca from Leyden, 1489 or 1494−1533). The museum collection has one of 27 works by the celebrated Dutch artist of the 16th century. “Archangel Gavriil” was found out some years ago when one of the American collectors bought an album of graphic by the little-known artist of the 19th century William Frederick Witherington at a small London auction. The album also featured much older drawing with the depiction of an angel defined in the catalogue as «unknown work by another artist». Soon the collector resold “Archangel”. The new owner having noticed on the back of the work an accurate signature L van Leyden and suspecting that the drawing could belong to the famous Dutch graphic and landscape painter of the first half of the 16th century sent it to the expert examination to Gregory Rubinstein from Sotheby’s. Having noted «improbably high quality» of the work Rubinstein paid attention to the original ornament similar to the decorated edges of the famous Leyden’s drawing “the Blessed Virgin” being kept in the Berlin Kupferstichkabinett. The following examination had already been made by the experts of the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum which proved the represented drawing not just to be the Leyden’s original but also a pair work of the celebrated “the Blessed Virgin”. According to the Head of the Metropolitan Department of drawing and printing editions George R. Goldner both works were diptych “Announcement” and apparently they were created as sketches for the stained-glass windows.

«There are no doubts concerning the authorship of the drawing. The image is very naturalistic that is peculiar to the Leyden’s creative manner. The Saint is represented as the usual person instead of as an idealized character. The elements of the depiction of draperies have features of a special artistic idiom of the artist» comments Goldner. The museum staff preferred not to disclose the price for “Archangel” but noticed that the unique exhibit was purchased by the museum under the assistance of a couple of the New York patrons of art Leon and Debry Black.

The drawing will be exposed at the exhibition named the Epoch of Phillip de Montainbleau: 30 Years of Reign. It will be opened on October, 24.
Later the curators plan to make the exposition which will unite both Leyden’s works.

Published in: on September 18, 2008 at 1:37 am  Leave a Comment  

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