From 30 April to 2 May, Dorotheum Auction House is hosting Classic Week, the first auction week of the year dedicated solely to traditional art. Four auctions offer works by outstanding European artists.

In the 30th April sale of Old Master paintings, Flemish and Italian masters will take the lead – male as well as female. The catalogue is headlined by a painting by Artemisia Gentileschi, whose Lucretia was sold at Dorotheum last year for £1.5 million. Her In Ecstasy with Mary Magdalene, estimated to fetch around half a million, dates back to the 1640s, when the artist lived in Naples at the height of her fame. While Artemisia Gentileschi dedicated herself to the Caravaggio-style figuration, the landscape in the background was executed by the Neapolitan painter Onofrio Palumbo.

Elisabetta Sirani, another female Baroque-era artist, is in the spotlight at the auction. Her work The Discovery of Moses was painted around 1660 in collaboration with her father Giovanni Andrea Sirani, who had also been her teacher. Elisabetta Sirani was so popular during her lifetime that she was able to found her own painting school and was even admitted to the Guild of St. Luke in her hometown of Bologna.

A founding member of the Baroque painting movement was Caravaggio, whose effective and naturalistic painting employed dramatic chiaroscuro. After his early death in 1610, many artists imitated his style. Artemisia Gentileschi was one of them, as was Bartolomeo Manfredi, whose Martyrdom of St. Bartholomew is now being auctioned at the Dorotheum. In fact, Manfredi was one of the first artists to pick up on Caravaggio's style and pass it on to the next generation.

Also well represented are the Biblical-themed works of Flemish masters. The Crossing of the Red Sea was carried out around 1630 by the Antwerp-based brothers Frans II and Ambrose II Francken, who both specialised in small-figure depictions.

Abel Grimmer, who also belongs to the Antwerp school, depicted the Old Testament motif of Isaac's courtship for Rebekah, which he set next to an exquisitely rendered loggia. This work proves the multi-talented mastery of the painter, who was able to portray nature and architecture.

Right: Cartier bracelet. Left: Cartier diamond brooch "Temple" No. 3105 | Photos: © Dorotheum
Right: Cartier bracelet. Left: Cartier diamond brooch "Temple" No. 3105 | Photos: © Dorotheum

On 29 April, jewellery and 19th-century paintings will be auctioned. The jewellery sale offers high quality treasures, including a bracelet made of platinum and white gold, which is set with diamonds totalling 50 carats. Also, in keeping with Classic Week, a diamond brooch by Cartier comes in the form of a Greek temple.

The varied paintings of the 19th century inspire with genre scenes, animal paintings, cityscapes and landscapes. An extraordinary atmosphere is created in Peter van Schendel's Night Market in Rotterdam, with the luminescent moon contrasted with the light from flames of the candle and fire.

What the two Canalettos in the 18th century were for exterior views of Venice, Eugen von Blaas was in the 19th century for interior views of life in the lagoon city. Von Blaas is considered the founder of the Venetian genre painting and his important work, Secrets, is heading to auction.

In the painting Ducks on the Lake by Alexander Koester, who was also called "duck-koester" due to his favourite motif, a flock of ducks cautiously stand at the edge of the lake while some venture in.

The auction week will conclude with the sale of antiques and furniture on 2 May. Particularly noteworthy here are some pieces that reflect the European enthusiasm for Far Eastern pieces in the 19th century and early 20th century.

A unique piece is a figurative clock made of porcelain and gilded bronze from 1860-80 from the manufactory Meissen.

No less extraordinary is an Art Deco showcase in Japonaism style, which was made in 1924 by Wilhelm Hejda in Vienna. The Makore wood veneer body is crowned by a gilded pagoda. Behind a glazed door is a lavishly designed tableau with exotic flora and fauna.

Discover all lots on Dorotheum right here