Panel discoveries post six-figure prices in American sale

Cretan panel painting of Christ’s Descent into Hell which sold for $120,000 (£92,000) at Brunk.

Two early panel paintings, one German, the other Cretan, emerged from a Florida collection to sell for six-figure prices at the Premier Auction at Brunk (20% buyer’s premium) in Asheville, North Carolina, on January 28. Both were new discoveries by rare artists.

Extracted from Antiques Trade Gazette | Roland Arkell

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Until now, only 22 icons were known by Angelos Akotantos, an artist working in 15th century Crete, then a territory of Venice. El Greco was among those influenced by his paintings. This new discovery, measuring 15 x 13in (38 x 31cm), painted on linen in egg tempera with gold leaf and laid on panel, depicts Christ’s Descent into Hell (Anastasis or Voskresenie Christovo).

Scholar and author on Angelos, Maria Vassilaki said: “This is a completely unknown icon by Angelos Akotantos, whom I qualify as a Byzantine painter working in Venetian Crete in the second quarter of the 15th century (1425-50).”

She said that the Latin (rather than Greek) signature Angelus Pinxit is particularly unusual: only one other icon, Christ Man of Sorrows held by the Museo Correr in Venice, is also signed this way – perhaps suggesting both were made for Italian clients.

It had some condition issues (some retouching and extensive craquelure) but estimated at $10,000-15,000, took $120,000 (£92,000).

Christ blessing