April 2, 2018 by Douglas Black
If your interest is 400 year old artwork that is yet undiscovered, maybe a Dutch Master is for you. One was recently found in an attic, the other has been hiding in plain sight for decades.
According to an Associated Press report, a painting found in the dusty attic of Des Moines’ historic Hoyt Sherman Place has turned out to be a big deal.
The painting, “Apollo and Venus” by late 16th Century and early 17th Century Belgium painter Otto van Veen, is believed to be worth millions of dollars.
Someone found the 400-year-old painting about two years ago while looking for Civil War flags.
Officials say the painting was coated with layers of discolored varnish and poor restoration work from decades ago. Art experts spent four months returning the painting to its pristine appearance.
Another has been hanging on the wall of a family home in Pennsylvania since “God knows when,” says a friend of mine who’s studied it since he was a boy early last century.
COMMODUS AS HERCULES AND GLADIATOR is the only one of the seven known paintings of Commodus which portrays the subject as a blond, fair complexioned warrior. Family provenance says that Peter Paul Rubens is the artist, although some scholars who have seen the work believe it may be that of Otto van Veen during the time Rubens was his student in 1590’s Antwerp.
The artist, whether it be Rubens or van Veen, represents Commodus in the manner of the heroic warrior-gladiator Hercules, his fair curly locks meticulously crimped as described by the contemporary accounts of Dio and Herodian.
This depiction gives us Commodus shortly before his assassination, his hair swept up and off the forehead, a glowing youthful appearance as florid as a twenty year old some ten years his junior at the time.
Old world style is making a strong come back among those who can afford to adorn their walls thusly, the rich gold and browns, the shadows, and the gloriously grizled faces a symbol of ties to ages of battles and losses long past.