Joseph Heintz the Younger (Augsburg 1600-1678 Venice) The interior of the Sala Maggior Consiglio, 120 x 150 cm. (47¼ x 59 in.)

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Lot 25
Joseph Heintz the Younger
(Augsburg 1600-1678 Venice)
The interior of the Sala Maggior Consiglio, 120 x 150 cm. (47¼ x 59 in.)

Sold for £ 134,400 (US$ 163,983) inc. premium
Joseph Heintz the Younger (Augsburg 1600-1678 Venice)
The interior of the Sala Maggior Consiglio, The Doge's Palace, Venice, with patricians voting on a bulletin for the election of new magistrates
oil on canvas
120 x 150 cm. (47¼ x 59 in.)

Footnotes

  • EXHIBITED:
    Galerie Heim, 'Le Choiz de L'amateur' - Selection de Peintures et Sculptures du XV au XVIII Siècle, Paris, 1970, where purchased by the current owner.

    Joseph Heintz the younger was the son of the painter and etcher Joseph Heintz (Basle 1564-1609 Prague) and served his apprenticeship as a painter under his stepfather Matthäus Gundelach in Augsburg between 1617-21. In the later 1620s or early 1630s he painted the famous Christ in Limbo (sold Sotheby's, London, 6 July 1994. lot 4391) which can be related to the artist's own conversion to the Roman Catholic faith, without which he could not have established himself later in Venice. It is thought that Heintz spent time in Rome during the 1630s and early 1640s, finally settling in Venice where in circa 1644 Pope Urban VIII made him a Knight of the Golden Spur. He painted numerous religious works for Venetian churches, but his importance lies in the depiction of Venice's state ceremonies and festivities featuring large numbers of figures, and as such he was the precursor of Luca Carlevaris and Giovanni Antonio Canal, called Canaletto.

    The present lot, painted circa 1648-50, is an impressive view of the interior of the Sala del Maggiore Consiglio in the Doge's Palace, Venice, with the Doge and some 1500 patricians. This vast room on the third floor of the palace could hold up to 3000 people and was the site of the legislative meetings of the lower house of the Venetian government, which numbered up to 1600 members. It was also used for elections and banquets. After the fire in 1577, which destroyed most of the 14th and 15th century masterpieces, Veronese and Tintoretto were called on to redecorate the room with historical and mythological scenes illustrating the power of the Venetian state. On the ceiling there is a Venice, Queen of of the Sea presenting the Doge with an Olive Branch probably by Tintoretto and his studio, and a Triumph of Venice by Veronese. The walls are decorated with scenes from the 12th century conflict between Emperor Frederick Barbarossa and Pope Alexander III, in which Venice achieved prestige as a diplomatic negotiator, as well as events from the Fourth Crusade in 1204. Above is a frieze by Domenico Tintoretto depicting the first 76 doges of Venice, from 804-1554, the only one omitted being Marino Falier, who was executed for treason in 1355. In his place is a black curtain, a reminder that even the most powerful man in Venice was subject to justice. However, all of these decorations are overpowered by the monumental Paradise by Jacopo and Domenico Tintoretto, inspired by Dante and measuring 7 x 22 metres, which has gained fame as being the largest old master painting in the world. Hung at the wall behind the throne of the Doge and heads of government, it was a powerful and overwhelming reminder of the divinely privileged position the Venetians gave themselves.
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