Featured two weeks ago in Fine Art Today, Orazio Gentileschi’s “Danae” smashed the artist’s previous auction records. How much did it realize and who was the buyer? Find out here.
Sotheby’s expected vigorous bidding on January 28 when the radiant “Danaë” by Baroque master Orazio Gentileschi was made available — and they were right. With auction estimates between $25 million and $30 million, the picture was arguably one of the most significant paintings to head to auction in recent memory.
When the night was over, “Danaë” held the new world record for Gentileschi’s work at $30.5 million. The painting’s new home? The illustrious J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, California. The picture will add to an already world-class permanent collection at the Getty and is sure to draw robust crowds when on view. The painting displays a popular mythological subject, adapted from Ovid’s Metamorphoses and represented by many of the period’s most accomplished painters, including Titian and Rembrandt. The beautiful Danaë is often represented as a reclining nude, locked away in a bronze tower. While her father attempts to keep her from mortal men, the lustful god Jupiter transforms himself into a shower of gold and impregnates her.
Gentileschi’s representation of the scene is nearly flawless and illustrates the painter’s mature period. A Mannerist early in his career, Gentileschi became very much inspired and influenced by the work of Michelangelo Caravaggio (1571-1610), whose dramatic, dark, and multi-figural compositions had taken Rome by storm in 1600. After Caravaggio’s untimely death in 1610, Gentileschi’s Mannerist roots began to resurface through his lighter palette and precision with detail, though the intense spotlighting and black backgrounds popularized by Caravaggio remained.
To learn more, visit the LA Times.
This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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