Tokyo Museum acquires important Manfredi painting from Robilant + Voena
The London, Milan & St. Moritz-based art dealers Robilant +Voena have sold a major painting by Bartolomeo Manfredi to the National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo, Japan, according to a recent gallery announcement. Manfredi (Ostiano near Mantua circa 1582-1622 Rome) was a contemporary of Caravaggio, though about a decade younger, and purportedly worked in his studio; and he was a chief Italian proponent of the dramatic Caravaggesque style following Caravaggio’s death in 1609.
According to information from Manfredi specialist Gianni Papi on the gallery’s website:
This is one of Bartolomeo Manfredi’s most important paintings. The literature on the artist had considered it lost: up to now it was only documented in an engraving by Pieter van Leysebetten, (c. 1660) for the Theatrum Pictorium by David Teniers the Younger (Brussels, 1660), the book of engravings illustrating the paintings in the collection of the Archduke Leopold Wilhelm. The archduke’s collections were moved from Brussels to Vienna in 1656, but the catalogue (the first known illustrated catalogue of an art collection) was published in 1660. Furthermore, David Teniers also included Manfredi’s picture in his own painting, showing two walls of the archduke’s gallery (Munich, Bayerische Staatsgemaldesammlungen), which also dates from around 1660 when the collection was already in Vienna.
[The] painting surfaced at the Dorotheum (Vienna) on 2 October 2002 as the work of Bartolomeo Manfredi’s circle. At the time the over-painting on the canvas did not permit an objective evaluation. The iconography was identical to the original which led to hypotheses of a d’après or a copy. However, the painting’s true identity was clearly revealed when it was under restoration. It was an exciting moment that day in December 2002 when the first stages of the cleaning had revealed a totally “different” painting and … [it became evident] that this was the lost Capture of Christ by Bartolomeo Manfredi. The quality revealed by the restoration, which brought to light a painting in excellent condition, showed that there could be no doubts as to the attribution which is further supported by the fact that the painting comes from Austria.