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‘The Crossing of The Red Sea’ by Frans Francken II, estimated at €120,000-150,000 at Ivoire Troyes.

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The subject, The Crossing of The Red Sea, is one frequently painted by the artist.

At a mammoth 3ft 10in x 6ft 11in (1.2 x 2.1m) the reinforced panel is of similar dimensions to the artist’s Choice between Vice and Virtue now in the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and The Allegory of the Abdication of Charles V in the Rijksmuseum.

Signed lower left D.i ffranck.IN, it was probably painted around 1620 and has an estimate of €120,000-150,000.

An unusual feature of this work is that the reverse of the panel is also painted – with decoration of arabesques and lambrequins.

Other examples of Francken’s work have reverse decoration, notably a panel in the museum Suermondt-Ludwig in Aix la Chapelle. That work originally served as a harpsichord cover but the Ivoire panel’s dimensions render it too large for such a purpose, so its exact function has yet to be determined.

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