You are here:

Fine Art/Old painting. Probably dutch


the painting
the painting  
I resieved a painting from a client of mine.I't been in his family for a long time.  It looks pretty old. I's oil on board. Could you please help me  identifying it?
Thanks in advance,

Thank you for the question.
Based on the single provided image, my answer can only in part, give you the full  answer which you are seeking.
There are e great number of ”Caveats “ and hurdles to be jumped - before any satisfactory answers pop out of the woodwork  - so to speak.
Also it is a matter of  not seeking  any “quick fixes, ” as these generally , only  lead to free tickets on the Titanic.
Very briefly the following possibilities present themselves;
1.It would appear to be and original  portrait. ( age, school etc - yet to be determined)
2. It would also appear to be a possible 19th century copy of an earlier work.
3.It is an unsigned and unknown painting, with an unknown provenance.
4. It is an outright fake, or misrepresentation . ( red herring)
Unfortunately, the image of the back of the work has been omitted. Therefore, a huge information gap is yet to be filled.
The 3rd point, in this case - is obvious the most logical and applicable.

I myself think that it is most likely to be a 19th century copy, possibly of another much bigger work.
It is based on much earlier medieval “Memento mori”  which is a stark warning to remember your own mortality, and the frailty of life itself.

This particular genre, has been coaxed and nurtured, throughout the ages.
Put into more modern terms, it is also perhaps the sigh and the deeply troubled sentiment of every poker player - who is on a losing streak, when leaving the gaming tables.

So, putting it somewhat into a more cruder language; the painting I think – has also been to the chop-shop, for whatever reasons.

My feelings, tell me to look in the direction of Russia, to a 19th century genre, which is a bit less well known in the West.
Think in the directions of the “Mocking of Christ” and all of the heads, belonging to Pieter Breughel.

But then on must transfer ones thoughts, to a minefield of Russian, late 19th century painters.
This is not an easy nut to crack - and much work, needs to  be done.
Therefore my advice would be for the next steps;

In order to achieve clarity and expedite matters more quickly, I would suggest the most logical step would be to get in touch with auction houses, near to where you are located.

Unfortunately; you give no indication as to your location.
However - the yellow pages will point you in the right direction, as to auction houses.

It is very important that you either contact one, or preferably more - of the “better auction” houses in this matter as good second opinions are always an asset ( For example; Bohams, Sotheby’s, Christies.)
The more smaller and local auction houses, will be far less satisfactory in this matter

The “top end” auction houses do indeed, have all the necessary expertise to help with the following;
a) give you the all important "hands on" examination of the work.
b) assist with establishing the necessary authorship, provenance, condition, quality, including any forensics and valuations.

Such matters, are never straight forward and do cost a great deal of both time and effort; for all those involved.
Very good luck with the next stage.

I wish you all the best; and very good luck indeed with the work!!!
Take care.

Fine Art

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


D. E. Lombardo


I am unable to answer enquiries concerning objects, which are NOT related to the areas of Fine Art and Antiques. Nor will I; on the sole basis of any photographic images be willing to give any definitive monetary valuations, or monetary opinions. In such cases I would always advise on getting “real time” valuations and opinions from reputable and qualified auction houses, or third parties. In some applicable cases, I may perhaps give general indications of value, based on the presented materials. True valuations always need a direct “hands on” approach, with perhaps also the necessary research and verifications. Broadly open to almost all questions, regarding the majority of both European, American quality objects, which are related to both Antiques and Fine Art. This also includes modern 20th century designer objects such as furniture etc. My own particular comfort zone areas would be; The decorative Arts, marble, stone, furniture, ivory, bone, amber, ceramics and porcelain, sculpture, glass, silver and metal objects etc. I will also answer inquiries, and give opinions concerning Dutch 17th, 18th and 19th century paintings. Please note that I do have limitations and cannot possibly answer all questions, as the field is very extensive. VERY IMPORTANT and PLEASE NOTE: Please note that; providing > GOOD CLEAR and Preferably High Resolution < photo's of the object(s)in question, is vital. Pics taken with a cell/mobile phone, are of a poor quality and best avoided. Posting signatures only, or just fragments of an artifact - will only provide me with insufficient information and it is often quite misleading. So please; Do post good clear overall images, with your question(s). Failing to do so, may cause rejection, which is also a great pity.


Since the early 90’s I lead a team of very enthusiastic staff at a business, where have the following disciplines; Restoration and refurbishment of historical buildings and gardens, including interior design. The restoration and care of Fine Art and Antiques at our restoration studio We are also Fine Art and Antique dealers, besides being collectors ourselves for a great number of years.

The main professional organization of which I am a member is the BNA, or Association of Dutch Architects, which is equivalent to the US; American Institute of Architects. Affiliated to the Art Loss Register in London and the International Cites Organization in Geneva, Switzerland.

Villa Rufolo; The forgotten paradise on earth. Published by the University of Aarhus, Denmark Book reviews and articles for International Archis Magazine, in the Netherlands.

Since I wished to become a Restoration Architect, firstly I took my BA degree in Art History. Then after graduation, I followed this immediately by studies to graduate and become a Restoration Architect. Ever since then, I have been an established Restoration Architect and Antiquarian. Since a great number of buildings are also inhabited by Fine Art fixtures and furnishings, I also became absorbed by all the artifacts, which go to fill them and not only the edifices themselves. This and much more, was the reason for gaining an advisory post on the City Commission; For The Protection and Care of Historic Monuments of Amsterdam - Amstelveen.

Awards and Honors
Citations and gratitude; “From the Town of Amalfi” for the groundwork achieved in order bring back the Historical past to the Medieval Villa Rufolo and its vital role in the region. BA in Art Hisory. Graduation Diploma as an Architect & Antiquarian; and also practicing as such. I have also completed a 3 year course in antiques, at the VHOK in Amsterdam VHOK is translated as; ( "The Association of Fine Art Dealers In The Netherlands.")

Past/Present Clients
With a view to the present lawmaking on privacy and reasons of confidentiality, this topic will remain private.

©2016 All rights reserved.