Nicolas Poussin’s Painting of Hannibal on an Elephant to be Auctioned by Christie’s

Nicolas Poussin, the French classical artist’s relatively older work depicting Carthaginian general Hannibal astride an elephant will be offered for auction by Christie’s in July. The painting has been valued between $4.5 and $7.5 million. It is not amongst the best works by Poussin and first came to global limelight when it was showcased at an exhibition in Rouen in northern France in 1961. The painting belonged to the collection of Roman scholar Cassiano dal Pozzo who was the greatest patron of the French painter. It is one of the early work of the painter who painted it right after he arrived in Rome.

The Painting’s Provenance Should Boost Collector’s Interest

Georgina Wilsenach, head of old master and British paintings at Christie’s believes that the painting’s provenance will create the interest amongst collectors. It is a dramatic painting from the artist who is better known for his works like “The Death of Germanicus” and “The Abduction of the Sabine Women”. The painting was made in mid 1620s on a canvas measuring 1.0 by 1.35 meters. The scene in the painting depicts Hannibal riding on an elephant and leading his troops on the fabled journey from Iberia into northern Italy. The story has it that his troops went through the Alps to attack Roman forces in what is known as the Second Punic War.

"Hannibal Crossing the Alps on an Elephant" by Nicolas Poussin is seen in this undated handout picture provided by Christie's in London

Highest Achieved by Poussin’s Paintings at Auction is $6.7 Million in 1999

Nicolas Poussin is considered one of the most influential artists in European art history. French king Louis XIII had honored him by appointing him the court painter in his court. But it is difficult to explain why his celebrated works also fail to fetch the astronomical sums in auctions that some of the other master’s works get. The best he has achieved in auctions is $6.7 million that his ‘The Agony in the Garden’ fetched in a Sotheby’s auction in 1999. His another celebrated work ‘Sacrament of Ordination’ was offered for auction by Christie’s in 2010 in the 15 to 20 million pounds range but failed to get a buyer. It was finally sold to the Kimbell Art Museum in Texas for $24.3 million in a private deal. The Hannibal painting will be on show in New York during Asian art week and also visit Moscow before the auction in London on July 2.

Via: reuters, luxpresso

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