Panoramic view of the Venetian fleet off the coast of Corfu, €65,000 (£55,500) at Wannenes Art Auctions.

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Estimated at €3000-5000 each, panoramas of Istanbul and Corfu hammered for €150,000 (£128,000) and €65,000 (£55,500) respectively. They came for sale on March 5 from a private Italian collection.

Both oils on canvas measured 2ft 6in x 5ft 9in (75cm x 1.73m) and were attributed to ‘a Venetian painter of the 18th or 19th century’ - the consensus emerging that they probably dated from c.1750. They are possibly based on contemporary prints but may have been painted by an artist who had visited both places.

Historical views of Istanbul are widely collected and often command a premium at auction.

Another version of this scene taken from the Galata ridges, almost certainly by the same artist, forms part of the permanent collection of the Pera Museum in Istanbul. There, displayed alongside other views of the city, it is attributed to ‘an anonymous artist of the second half of the 18th century’.

As another settlement key to Venetian trade, the view of the fleet moored off Corfu provides a suitable pendant picture.

From medieval times well into the 17th century, the Venetian protectorate was recognised as a bulwark against Ottoman intrusion into the Adriatic - the complex fortifications of its Old Fortress shown here in great detail. The last siege of Corfu was in 1716 during the final Ottoman-Venetian War of 1714-18, perhaps half a century before the picture was painted.

Ribera’s saint


Saint Jerome, an early work by Giuseppe Ribera, €240,000 (£215,000) at Wannenes Art Auctions.

Leading the Genoa sale was the 3ft 5in x 5ft (1.03 x 1.49m) oil on canvas Saint Jerome by Giuseppe Ribera (1591-1652). Estimated at €40,000-70,000, it hammered for €240,000 (£215,000). The picture has a provenance to the 18th century Portuguese nobleman Don Pedro Enrique de Bragança (1718-61) but it was only in 2003 that it was reattributed to Ribera by Gianni Papi and Nicola Spinosa, specialists in Caravaggesque painting.

It is thought to have been created when the artist had just arrived in Rome (1612) and to be heavily influenced by Caravaggio’s French and Flemish followers.

The picture was sold as by Giuseppe Ribera at Christie’s in London in 2006 when it took £105,000 - around half the price it made this month.