The use of these ‘3D’ video techniques began last year with Sotheby’s producing similar videos for a number of other Old Masters they were selling.
The pair of Canalettos offered as a single lot on February 1 with an estimate of £3m-4m are the latest pictures to receive the CGI treatment, following JMW Turner's Ehrenbreitstein, which was knocked down at £17m in London in July, as well as a still life by Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder that made a premium-inclusive £2.97m in June.
As explained in the content alongside the latter video, the aim of this new type of content is to allow viewers to “experience the touch of an artist’s brush like never before”.
Old Masters appear to lend themselves well to this kind of video with the fine details such as the petals and insects in the Bosschaert or the gondolas and recognisable landmarks like the Bridge of Sighs on the Canaletto lifted by the effects of the roving camera.
Video or no video, the Canalettos will definitely be sold at the New York auction as they are the subject of third-party guarantee – a practice that is becoming more prominent in this sector.
They are described as in ‘nearly pristine condition’ and come to auction from a European vendor who acquired the works from London’s Lampronti Gallery in 2007.
The paintings themselves are part of a group of six small-format works by Canaletto that are similar in size and subject to a set bought by the 4th Duke of Bedford in circa 1733-1736, all of which now hang today in Woburn Abbey.
The present works were acquired by Sir Richard Neave, possibly directly from the artist during his spell in London in the late 1740s.