Simon Bening Auction Price Results
Auction Date: Dec 14, 2020
Estimate: €1,000 - €1,500
Description: - BENING, Simon (South Netherlandish 1483/1484 - 1561) - after.Six village scenes with knights and farmers. Oil on six copper plates. Minor wear to the edges, some superficial scratches, else in good condition.
Location: Amsterdam, NL
Auction House: Adams Amsterdam Auctions
Lot 22: Simon Bening (c.1483-1561) - The Passion of Christ, a leaf from the Enriquez de Ribera Prayerbook, Flanders, probably Bruges, c.1508-9
Auction Date: Dec 14, 2020
Estimate: £120,000 - £180,000
Description: Simon Bening (c.1483-1561)
The Passion of Christ, a leaf from the Enriquez de Ribera Prayerbook, Flanders, probably Bruges, c.1508-9
A dramatic miniature painted by Simon Bening, one of the greatest and most famous Netherlandish manuscript illuminators, from the intriguing Enriquez de Ribera prayerbook. Dismembered and its miniatures dispersed, the lost manuscript is recognised for its striking beauty and iconographical innovation: the present miniature depicts scenes from the Passion of Christ.
Full-page miniature divided into four separate panels depicting the Passion of Christ, on vellum, mounted on strong paper: 135 x 90 mm; miniature including painted frame: 129 x 85 mm; single panel excluding painted frame: c.61 x 40 mm. Mounted and framed.
(1) From the Prayerbook that was made for the Spanish aristocratic family Enriquez de Ribera. The coats of arms of the Ribera family as well as of the Enriquez family are to be found in the border decoration of several companion leaves (see below). Ribera: or three fess vert; Enriquez: Chape ploye, 1 and 2: gules a castle triple towered or [Castile], 3, in base argent a lion passant proper crowned or [Leon]. See Alberto and Arturo Garcia Caraffa, Enciclopedia Heraldica y genealogica hispano americana, 57 vols. Madrid, 1828, vol. 31, pp. 32, 49-52, 80-81, arms, pl. 3a, 264 [Enriquez]; vol. 78, 220-21, 224, 249-50, arms, pl. 7a, 320 [Ribera].
The original manuscript was most likely made for the Spanish nobleman Fadrique Enriquez de Ribera, Marquis of Tarifa (1476-1539). Count Paul Durrieu was the first to identify both armorials – of Enriquez and of Ribera – that appear in the borders of the extant leaves: these two great Sevillan families were only united for the first time through the marriages of Fadrique’s father, Pedro Enriquez de Quiñones, first to his aunt, Beatriz de Ribera, and, after her death, to Fadrique's mother, Catalina de Ribera. Of the male descendants to have borne the Enriquez and Ribera arms, Fadrique stands out as by far the most likely candidate to have commissioned such a manuscript: not only did he spend time in the Netherlands, becoming a Knight of the Golden Fleece in 1518, but he is known to have owned splendid books and manuscripts. The inventory of the c.260 items he added to the Tarifa library includes at least three costly prayerbooks in rich bindings (see María del Carmen Alvarez Márquez, ‘La Biblioteca de don Fadrique Enríquez de Ribera, I Marqués de Tarifa (1532)’, Historia. Instituciones. Documentos, no 13 (1986), pp.1-40).
(2) It is possible that the present leaf was formerly in the Ch. A. De Burlet collection in Berlin. 'Only three of the four miniatures owned by De Burlet were sold, when they were attributed to Simon Bening, in Eine Wiener Sammlung, Berlin, H. Ball and P. Graupe, 12 May 1930, Pt. II, pp. 10-11, nos 20-22, ills.' (see Hindman 1989, p.6, no 8). Judith Anne Testa (1991, p.89) mentions five miniatures from the 'Albert Figdor collection in Vienna', which are identical to the ones that Hindman identifies as the ex-De Burlet leaves.
(3) Private Collection.
The Enriquez de Ribera prayerbook must have been a unique devotional manuscript, made to order for Fadrique Enriquez de Ribera. It was likely very densely illustrated; the scenes depicted across the extant leaves are taken from Christ’s Ministry, Passion, Resurrection, Pentecost and beyond, and must have formed part of an unusually full cycle. Furthermore, many of these scenes are rarely illustrated in manuscript art – the depiction of the Rending of the Veil of the Temple (Sotheby’s, 6 July 2000, lot 35), or Joseph of Aramathea and Nicodemus on the way to Calvary in the present leaf are virtually unknown in Netherlandish art, not just rare in Ghent-Bruges illuminated manuscripts. The verso text is preserved for just one of the sister leaves: Lewis E M 6:1 at the Free Library of Philadelphia, a devotion in Spanish that is neither from a standard Book of Hours, nor is it related to those found in any Rosary Psalter produced by Bening and his shop. When the remnants of the manuscript are considered together, it is possible to imagine just how splendid and iconographically innovative a prayerbook this must have been.
Sixteen companion leaves (including cuttings) from the same manuscript are known; the present leaf is either the unidentified leaf formerly in the Ch.A. De Burlet collection (no 8 below), or a new addition to the group.
1. Christ washes the Feet of the Apostles (formerly Paul Durrieu, Paris and Jörn Günther Antiquariat Hamburg, Mittelalterliche Miniaturen und Handschriften, 1993, pp.172-174, no 32).
2. Last Supper and the Institution of the Eucharist (formerly Paul Durrieu, Paris and now Cleveland Museum of Art, 2002.52).
3. Christ's Appearances to the Apostles (formerly Paul Durrieu, Paris; see Literature).
4. Christ's Appearance to Thomas (formerly Paul Durrieu, Paris; see Literature).
All leaves formerly in the possession of Paul Durrieu have been mounted on wood; for an extensive discussion see Hindman 1989 and Testa 1991.
5. Jesus and the Apostles at the Sea of Tiberias (formerly Ch.A. De Burlet, Berlin; present location unknown).
6. Jesus, Peter and John at the Sea of Tiberias (formerly Ch.A. De Burlet, Berlin; probably originally on the same leaf with no 5, present location unknown).
7. Christ performing Miracles (formerly Ch.A. De Burlet, Berlin; now St Louis, Missouri, the St Louis Museum of Art, acc.no. 66:1952; see Testa 1992).
8. Subject unknown, possibly the present leaf? (formerly Ch.A. De Burlet, Berlin).
9. Passion, Resurrection, Last Judgement, Parable of the Fig Tree (Philadelphia, Free Library, John Frederick Lewis Collection, E M 6:1).
10. Pentecost, the Mocking of the Apostles, and St Peter preaching (Philadelphia, Free Library, John Frederick Lewis Collection, E M 6:2).
11. Crucifixion, Veil of the Temple rent in two (formerly Peter Sharrer, New York; Sotheby's, 6 July 2000, lot 35; Hindman 1989, p.14 notes that this leaf 'was recently purchased in Spain, [which] suggests the possibility that the manuscript remained in Spain following its initial execution and, moreover, encourages optimism about the eventual recovery of additional leaves and cuttings from the original manuscript.').
12. Supper at Emmaus (Christie's, 1 December 2016, lot 9; Private Collection).
13. The Resurrection of the Dead, the Resurrected Christ before Mary, The Last Judgment (formerly in a Lille Collection, sold at Rob Michiels Auctions, European and Islamic Arts, 28 April 2019, lot 1201 [unidentified in the catalogue])
14. The Betrayal and Arrest of Christ (formerly in a Lille Collection, sold at Rob Michiels Auctions, European and Islamic Arts, 28 April 2019, lot 1201 [unidentified in the catalogue])
15. The Agony in the Garden (acquired in 2020 by the Louvre, Cabinet des dessins du Louvre)
16. The Crucifixion (acquired in 2020 by the Louvre, Cabinet des dessins du Louvre)
The last of the great Netherlandish illuminators and the most widely renowned, Simon Bening was attracting high-status commissions almost immediately after receiving his mastership in Bruges in 1508, and worked for important patrons across Europe for the next half-century. Presumably trained in Ghent by his father, the illuminator Sanders Bening, Simon’s work drew upon a knowledge of his predecessors while developing his own style, which brought a
Location: London, LDN, UK
Auction House: Christie's
Auction Date: Nov 15, 2014
Estimate: €8,000 - €10,000
Description: This work shows Christ being betrayed by the kiss of Judas and captured by Roman soldiers. In the background of the image we see the fence surrounding the garden of Gethsemane and a large rock formation. The tightly packed composition of half-length figures, closely placed landscape background and the head of Christ all display parallels to the work of the Flemish manuscript painter Simon Bening, indicating that this panel was probably originates from his circle.
Location: Köln, DE
Auction House: Kunsthaus Lempertz KG
Auction Date: Nov 28, 2001
Estimate: $2,130 - $2,840
Description: [Ghent, c.1500] 184 x 127mm (visible painted area). Initial D with acanthus-frond staves in ochre and liquid gold 'casting' a dark pink shadow on a lighter pink ground, full-page border of an aquatic battle between an armoured merman and a wildman mounted on a fantastic water-bird, swans swimming on the lake beyond them and birds flying above a landscape of wooded hills, 17 lines of text written in black ink in a gothic bookhand between two verticals and 18 horizontals ruled in pink, justification: 119 x 74mm, rubric in red, one-line initials in burnished gold on grounds and infills of blue and pink with white penwork decoration, similar initials and line-endings visible on verso (minor losses of pigment). Mounted, in a gilt wood frame. As signalled in the rubric, the leaf opens with the first of the Penitential Psalms and so formed part of a Book of Hours or prayerbook. The engaging border is attributable to the workshop of the Master of the Older Prayerbook of Maximilian, named from the manuscript made for the Emperor Maximilian, Vienna ™NB cod.1907. The Master was one of the leading figures in the so-called Ghent-Bruges School of illumination, collaborating with Gerard Horenbout and Simon Bening as well as the anonymous Master of the Prayerbooks of c.1500 and exerting such a formative influence on Simon Bening that he is plausibly identified as Simon's father, Alexander Bening. He apparently first used the design, around the opening of the Psalter of St Jerome, in the Hours of William, Lord Hastings, datable before his execution in 1483 (BL, Add. 54782, f.279, ill. in D. Turner, The Hastings Hours ). Clearly of great appeal, it reappears in some of the finest Netherlandish manuscripts of the early sixteenth century: the Hours of James IV of Scotland (™NB cod.1897, f.211v) and for St Thomas in the Rothschild Prayerbook (sold in these rooms 8 July 1999, lot 102, f.212). The workshop of the Master of the Prayerbooks of c.1500 also adopted it in a richly illuminated hours in Cambridge, Fitzwilliam 1058-1975 (A. Arnould and J.-M. Massing Splendours of Flanders, p.88) and the Prayerbooks Master is the likely source for the birds which here animate the empty sky of the Hastings Hours. The battling figures bear no relation to the psalm and were used for several different texts. The new independent validity of pictorial borders allowed owners of these luxurious devotional manuscripts to delight in their extended imagery, as this attractive leaf bears out.
Location: London, LDN, UK
Auction House: Christie's
Auction Date: Jul 09, 2001
Estimate: $987,000 - $1,410,000
Description: [Bruges, 1530-1535] 59 x 42mm. 216 leaves including a first blank endleaf and two final leaves ruled otherwise blank, mostly in gatherings of eight with 13 inserted singletons with miniatures, apparently COMPLETE, 15 lines written in black ink in a round gothic bookhand between two verticals and 16 horizontals ruled in red, justification: 38 x 25mm, rubrics of pink, one- and two-line initials of liquid gold on grounds alternately of blue, grey and red, four- to six-line initials of foliage or branches of liquid gold or white against coloured grounds flecked and framed with liquid gold, TWELVE CALENDAR MINIATURES of the occupations of the months, TWENTY-TWO FULL-PAGE MINIATURES in narrow frames most with spandrel brackets in the upper corners, TWENTY-THREE FULL-PAGE BORDERS of Ghent/Bruges type, many of strewn flowers on grounds of yellow or brown flecked with gold, and including birds or insects, others where the flowers are replaced with jewels, emblems, animals or figures (slight thumbing and darkening at edges, particularly affecting the Calendar, small pigment losses affecting the face of the Virgin in the Annunciation, the hair of God in the Coronation of the Virgin, the face of one of the angels in the Man of Sorrows, the mantle of the Virgin in the Virgin and Child, a small smudge to the face of the Virgin in St Anne with the Virgin and Child, a v-shaped loss from the border of f.94 the fragment surviving in the gutter). Spanish or Portuguese early 19th-century panelled red morocco with a double gilt fillet, gilt spine in four compartments tooled with a leaf spray, copper-gilt clasp and catch with crossed cross and anchor and a flaming heart, the symbols of the Theological Virtues. AN UNKNOWN WORK FROM BENING'S FINEST PERIOD: OF JEWEL-LIKE EXECUTION AND SIZE PROVENANCE: Like many of the most splendid 16th-century Flemish manuscripts this exquisite Book of Hours contains no certain evidence to indicate its early ownership. The sparse Calendar does, however, include in red the feast of Vincent of Saragossa (22 January), and the Litany has Berard and his associates among the martyrs, and Engratia of Saragossa as the final virgin. All three of these saints were venerated in Portugal, and it is possible that the manuscript went to, and remained in, that country for the binding seems most likely to be Portuguese or Spanish. It is clear from Damiao de Goes' oft-quoted appraisal of Bening's work how high his reputation was in Portugal by 1530, and he is known to have undertaken several commissions for Portuguese royalty and members of their court. CONTENT: Calendar ff.2-8; Office of the Virgin, use of Rome ff.10-114v: matins f.10, lauds f.37, prime f.54, terce f.62, sext f.69, none f.76, vespers f.83, compline f.94, variants f.101v; Seven Penitential Psalms ff.116-129v; Litany ff.129v-141v; Office of the Dead ff.143-175v; Prayers to Christ ff.177-194: Conditor celi et terre rex regum f.177, Salve sancta facies f.182, O dulcissime domine iesu f.f.185, O domine iesu xpe adoro te in cruce pendentem f.192; Obsecro te ff.195-199v; Suffrages ff.201-214v: to Sts Michael f.201, John the Baptist f.203, Peter f.205, James f.207, Christopher f.209, Anne f.212, Mary Magdalene f.214 ILLUMINATION: No renaissance illuminator had a higher reputation than Simon Bening -- 'the best master in the art of illumination in all of Europe' -- and the assessment of his contemporaries remains undisputed. By the 1530s -- the likely date of the present Hours -- he was patronised by princely patrons in Spain, Portugal and Germany as well as in his homeland. Later in the century his achievements were not only celebrated by compatriot historians, Denis Harduyn and Antonius Sanderus, but also by Guicciardini and Vasari. Simon was born around 1483, probably in Ghent, the son of the illuminator Sanders Bening (fl.1469, d.1519) and Kathelijn van der Goes, probably the sister or niece of the great painter Hugo. His family was also connected to the great painter Rogier van der Weyden. Simon could hardly have been born into circumstances more favourable for his artistic development. In 1500 he was required to register his mark at the painters' hall in Bruges, showing that he must already have been producing miniatures for sale in the city, and he joined the Guild of St John and St Luke there in 1508. From 1517 onwards he paid annual dues to the Bruges guild and became a citizen, settling there permanently, in 1519. In 1522 he presented the guild with a large Crucifixion miniature in lieu of fees, and he often contributed considerable sums for the decoration of the guild chapel. He served as dean of the guild in 1525, 1536 and 1546. Everything shows his career to have been long, prosperous and prolific. He lived until 1561 and two self-portraits dated 1558 attest to his enduring artistic activity and ability (London, V&A, P.159-1910 and New York, Metropolitan Lehman Collection, M.191). Few documented works survive from this long and successful career: and those that are the most certain -- the five leaves of the Genealogy of the Infante Dom Fernando of Portugal (BL, Add. Ms 12531), which Bening painted between 1530 and 1534 on drawings by the Portuguese artist Antonio de Hollanda -- are far from characteristic products of an illuminator's output. Of the known signed works, the Crucifixion in a Missal made in 1530 for the town hall at Diksmuide, which was the basis for the early attributions to Bening, was destroyed in the First World War. The surviving signed works are limited to the self-portraits and the Passion Prayerbook of Albrecht of Brandenburg (Los Angeles, J.Paul Getty Museum, Ludwig Ms IX, 19), which is signed with the initials SB. Around this core a large and ever-increasing body of work has been identified as Bening's. The present manuscript -- entirely unrecorded and previously unknown -- is an exceptional and exciting addition. Small, personal prayerbooks, either Hours or Rosaria, seem to have been a speciality of Bening. A number of such manuscripts survive with miniatures by him, and of a size that would have enabled their owners to have carried them around and kept them close. Few of these books are as extensively autograph as the present manuscript and none, as far as we have been able to ascertain, is as small. It seems likely that it was intended to be worn, serving both as devotional aid and as jewellery; it could have been hung around the neck or, more probably, from the girdle of its owner. In spite of their size the miniatures of this Book of Hours are of the highest quality: incredibly detailed, affecting and atmospheric and painted in Bening's most polished technique. Many of the compositions are both iconographically and compositionally inventive. There are no concessions to scale: it is a virtuoso performance. In the Calendar miniatures, often no taller than 11mm 7/16 inch), lively figures are set in extensive landscapes that convincingly convey seasonal conditions. Bening's full-page Calendar scenes are rightly accepted as one of his greatest achievements but the restricted space available to him in this manuscript clearly triggered a fresh and thoughtful response. Where possible he exploited the relative sparseness of the feasts listed by the scribe to extend the miniature field up into the two text columns. This resulted in variable and irregular stepped tops to the scenes. In each case his composition of the month's occupation makes use of these extensions to focus attention, emphasise movement or augment the content. For February this is exploited to provide a composition more pertinent to its place in a liturgical Calendar than the habitual subjects of pruning or wood-gathering. On the left a family of four carries candles as they follow a path that joins a wider way on the right-hand side. The additional height on that side houses an abbey, the destination of various groups of waiting or processing figures, all of them heading to celebrate one of Februar
Location: London, LDN, UK
Auction House: Christie's