At first glance, when I saw a painting attributed to Monamy, auctioned at Sotheby's, New York, Feb 2, 2018, I thought it was the same as the painting attributed to van Diest, auctioned ten years earlier at Christie's, London, April 23, 2008, reproduced above. But I quickly realized there were many and numerous differences of detail, some of which are shown below. The whole painting is shown below the details.
SHIPS IN A CALM NEAR A FORT 52 5/8 by 47 1/8 in.; 133.7 by 119.7 cm.
"We are grateful to Dr. Sarah Monks for endorsing the attribution to Monamy, based on photographs. Dr. Monks dates the work to the late 1720s or early 1730s. The flagship found at left here may be compared to a comparable vessel in a slightly earlier painting, 1728, Men-of-War Becalmed, in the National Maritime Museum, London (BHC1008)." A section from NMM, BHC1008, is shown below, right.
The similarity is palpable. The puzzles multiply. All these pictures await forensic investigation. Failing such investigation, any picture could have been painted yesterday. The only certainty is that a picture showing a ship wearing a post-1707 flag could not possibly have been painted pre-1707.
The only question is, if I were painting and dating a painting 1728, why would I show the ship in the painting sporting a pre-1707 flag ? Answers on a postcard, please.
Signed Monamy, dated 1728, NMM.
Van Diest: "His better pictures have changed their name."
may be continued; but will never be concluded
"The styles of Scott and Peter Monamy, and ultimately of all the English marine artists of the eighteenth century,
were formed entirely on that of the Van de Veldes."
Galloping insanity extracted from The Oxford History of English Art: 1625-1714, by Whinney and Millar
"They make one gasp and stretch one's eyes".
monamy website index
chronology & authenticity
a century of moonlight
try foliage here
monamy explained popery and painting
"Most pictures are accepted as being by Raphael, or Titian, or Rembrandt because experts say they are. Very few pictures have solid documentary evidence behind them. So, if some reputable bunch weighs in with an opinion, then it's taken seriously ...... You know how easily impressed some people are. So, museums eventually relabel their pictures. Happily if a work is upgraded, with much gnashing of teeth if it's downgraded. I believe the catchword in America these days is de-attribution." Iain Pears, The Titian Committee, 1991, Chapter 7.
© Charles Harrison-Wallace 2018
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