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Vancouver Museum tries to flip its models

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Self-portrait, Johan Gregor van der Schardt, c. 1573


I just discovered on August 3rd, 2013 that the Vancouver Museum has been trying to flip (sell) the models it owns at Sotheby's auction house in New York in Jan 13, 2013.

However, Sotheby "experts" have determined that the pieces were actually made by Dutch artist Johan Gregor van der Schardt and valued the collection at just $200,000 to $300,000. (instead of $31 million in tax credits) The pieces failed to sell at auction and are still owned by the Museum of Vancouver".
The Vancouver museum plans to sell the other 9 models in 2016 when the 10-year waiting period expires.

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Provenance according to Sotheby's January 2013 sale

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This reappraisal of the models by Sotheby that the models were made by Johann Gregor Van der Schardt and not by Michelangelo is ridiculous IMHO for the following reasons:

1)Der Schardt IMHO, is a minor artist and is and was incapable of making the Vancouver models. Furthermore, one of der Schardt's "sculptures" doesn't look anything like the work of the masters models he is said to have made. IMHO, the Vancouver models breath the feeling of the master. As you can see this "wooden" "neanderlandish" sculpture by der Schardt. His model does not have the look or the feel of a real Michelangelo's "David" or his "Pieta". A feeling that you experience only when you looking at a real Michelangelo.



2) Der Schardt was known for making small terracotta copies of classical greek and roman statues in Rome. complete statues not just parts of the statue.

The Vancouver models are "working models" that Michelangelo used to make his statues and paintings. There are several models in the Vancouver collection that are not complete models but just and hand, foot, (with a hook hanging out from it too! or a arm. Which Michelangelo used in other projects and some in reverse image.

Why would Der Schardt make a study of just the left arm of the dead christ in the Pieta in St. Peters in Rome? If had done it he would have made a copy of the complete statue.

See the Vancouver models in Michelangelo's statues here:


3)According to Paul Lebrooy's research Vasari was the last to own them before they were sold to the "silk king" Von Praun. Other artists like Jan Brueghel the Elder, and Tintoretto seen or may have acquired them after Vasari's death.

Both Jan Brueghel the Elder and Tintoretto made a studies of the clay models. Tintoretto made sketch of the Day now in the Louvre from the clay model and not from the statue which is incomplete.


4) If der Schardt was a admirer of Michelangelo that he made minatures of his works then he sould be a friend of Michelangelo. I cannot find him in Michelangelo's friend list. Nor, have I ever heard his name mentioned with Michelangelo's name.


5)Just because Der Schardt was present in the time frame and was known for working in terracotta and for making small copies of classical statues does not mean that the Vancouver models were made by him.


6)It is well documented that the Lebrooy models were in the VonPraun collection from 1616 to 1803. Von Praun was a rich silk merchant who acquried every renowned artwork that he could buy up..

Paul Lebrooy reports in his book that it was Varsari who was a famous artist that was the last person to acquire the models. And it was Vasari's heir, Chevalier George Vasari who sold the model collection the rich Silk king Paul Van Pruan(1548-1616) in Bologna, Italy.

As a very rich man he was advised by the best artists of the day who would klnow the difference between a real Michelangelo and a fake copy. His experts (probably Michelangelo's students)would have advised him that the models were indeed by the master himself which they saw in the masters studi.

One such artist was the sculptor Giovanni de Bologna who was a close friend of Vassari and a student of Michelangelo.

The Von praun collectin included 4,700 copper and wood engravings and 122 bronzes. It included 104 coper plates and 350 prints from wood-cuts by Durer. Von Praun bought it from the heirs of Wencslas Jammitzer who obtained them directly from Durer and from his younger brother Andre.

The collection also included a large number of drawings by: 18 by Michelangelo 3 by Denis Calvaret, 5 by annibale Carracci, 4 by Domenichino, 8 by Dosso Dossi, 30 by Guilo Romano, 4 by Andrea Mantega, 29 by Raphael 15 by Albrecht Durer, 4 by A ndrea del Sarto , 4 by Albrecht Altdorfer, 12 by Pamigianino, 4 by Lucas Cranach, 15 by Martin Schongauer, 5 by Tintoretto, and many others by Vasari, Lucas van Leyden, Guercino, Primaticcio, Correggio, Titian. There are presently in the Budapest Museum of Fine Arts many fine drawings from the von Praun Collection, and foremost among them are some drawings from scongauer's workshop, including "Annunciation", 2 sketches by Durer, Baldung Grien and Altdorfer.

The Von Praun collection formed the basis of modern art museums in Europe. When Von Praun's collection was sold in 1803 it was sold to the roality of Europe. The roral collection later turned into public Art Museums.


7) Art experts are not artists they are "wanabee artists". When a art expert tries to confirm a work is by a artist they look for similarities in the artists past work to the work in question.

IMHO, all the Sootheby's art experts did was find a terracotta artist known for making models of classical statues from antiquity and from the time and era and eurka they found the artist responsible for making the models.


8) Most of the models in the Vancouver collection are partial models of the foot, arm, leg, and shoulder and not miniature copies of the statues. The partial The partial models would have been helpful to Michelangelo in making his sculptures. Michelangelo also used the same model hand or leg in different sculptures or paintings or reveresed in the same sculpture.


9)I am sure Paul Lebrooy found documentation showing that Vasari's heir sold them to Von Praun. It is said that Paul Lebrooy had extensive documentation for the book he wrote which was turned over to the Vancouver museum. Furthermore, since Vasari was a very famous artist and person it should be quite simple to verify that his heir was responsible for selling the models to von Praun and not der Schardt. Sotheby's does not furnish proof that the models were sold by der Schardt. Sotheby's only says in its press release that it is "likely" that the models were sold by der Schardt to von Praun which is questionable in my view. The more likely seller IMHO was Vasari's heir Chevalier George Vasari which is probably backed up by documents that Paul Lebfrooy found and copies are in the possession of the Vancouver Museum


10) In LeBrooy's Book he found proof that the art historian Christophe Theophile Murr (1733- 1811), stated in his 1797 catalogue of the von Praun Collec- tion that von Praun had acquired in Bologna at the end of the six- teenth century, famous Vasari Collection of drawings which Vasari's nephew and heir, Chevalier George Vasari, had brought from Rome.

Lebrooy also states that Henry Thode's and Professor Lehnert's claim that in a privately published 42 page book in 1913 that Vasari kept a catalogue that was published after his death that stated his heir Chevalier George Vasari had sold the models to Von Praun in 1598"


11)So why would the art experts claim that the models are not by Michelanglo? What have they to gain by doing so? The answer is their "reputations" are on the line.

Art experts" need to protected and guard their "rep" above everything. Experts are "experts" because they do not make mistakes. If you make a mistake then you are not a expert.


11) Art experts, IMHO, are wanabee artists they are not artists mst cannot not even draw a "straight line" I bet. To verify a painting is by a certain artist they look for similarities to pass works by the artist. Whereas, a real artist would just look at the painting and tell if it had the look and feel of a original. Based on hours of studying and copying the artists works so as to duplicate them.

Art experts also become experts by studying what other art experts throug out time have said. So to say one of your teachers is wrong is saying he is not a expert.

To become a Michelangelo expert the "wanabee artist" studies his statues and all the Michelangelo experts dating back to Vasari. Whereas, a artist like myself would skip the experts opinions and their words and just study the paintings and sculptures images.

Artists traditionally learn from making copies of the masters works. This is how we learn from what the masters have to teach. Thus by copying a master work you learn learn the masters style and technique. A Michelangelo art expert can not do this because they art not artist. They probably can't even draw a straight line or a convincing portrait or even make a workable composition or color scheme!

For example, look at this terracotta model

The art expert Thode in his 1913 article on the Haehnel Collection (Von Praun) did not consider the this to be by the hand of Michelangelo. Thode stated: "the muscles were to strong and too unpleasant - exaggerated in the manner of the sculptor Bandinelli (1488-1569)."

The exaggerated muscles on were probably done intentionally by Michelangelo so they would show up on the tiny plaquette. If the muscles were highly finished your probably would not be able to see the muscles. But since they are raised, as this is a bas-relief, you are able to see there are muscular men in the plaque. Which was Michelangelo's intention, since he was trying to depict the muscular Hercules and Atlas holding up the world. To lift up the planet you need some big muscles to do the job. But then again, Mr. Thode would not have known this since he was not a artist, but a art expert, a wanabee artist.

In 2013 the curator of the museum where the terracotta plaque is displayed still concurs with Thodes 1913 assessment. Because he is a art expert and I am not. This is insane. But, necessary to maintain your credentials as a "art expert".