Records for a Delicate Touch and Angelic Inspiration

On 25 November 2019, by Anne Doridou-Heim

This French record for a painting by Michael Sweerts adds to the corpus of an artist who can be relished in every sense of the word.

Michael Sweerts (1618-1664), Le Toucher (Touch), oil on canvas, 75 x 60 cm.
Result: €663,520

This allegory of "Touch" by the Brabant artist Michael Sweerts (1618-1664), painted after his return to Brussels in 1656, garnered €663,520: a sum synonymous with a French record and third place for the artist's global results (source: Artnet). So where are the other three paintings in this set of the "Five Senses"? While "Smell" is in the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, and "Touch" is now well documented, "Sight", "Hearing" and "Taste" are still missing. Do domestic animals also feature in them, adding a tinge of humanity? The rediscovery of "Touch" could lead to others – or so we hope. A little later in the afternoon, a monumental "Angel" by Giacomo Zoboli (1681-1767) soared up €146,740: a world record this time for an artist whose Artnet site lists a scant twenty-five results (only two concerning paintings!). The missing areas of paint in no way detracted from it, as all its allure lay in its monumentality and provenance as a preparatory cartoon for the mosaic of the dome of the Santa Maria della Colonna chapel, in the choir of St Peter's Basilica in Rome. The huge Old Master painting appeared here in a double light, in both its most intimate and most spectacular form.

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