The Old Masters sale, which commences Dorotheum’s auction week, boasts the inaugural presentation of extraordinary paintings from eminent artists such as Artemisia Gentileschi and Anthony van Dyck. These incredible works have only been privately owned and will be presented to the public for the first time at this auction.

Lucretia, an exquisite piece by Artemisia Gentileschi, was painted 1640-45 and is regarded as a typical example of Gentileschi's ouevre. Artemisia Gentileschi was one of the most successful female artists of the 17th century, a time when women were not accepted in the artistic field, and in her paintings she often depicted brave and dynamic female subjects, such as Judith and Susanna. Her father was a famous artist and a colleague of Caravaggio and encouraged her to develop her talent. The Medici family were her patrons, and she worked under Italian Baroque master Massimo Stanzione.

The legend behind the painting begins with the rape of Lucretia, a noblewoman in ancient Rome, by Sextus Tarquinius, an Etruscan king's son. This brutal act ignited a rebellion that overthrew the Roman monarchy and led to the establishment of a republic. In shame, Lucretia committed suicide by a dagger, the act depicted here. Painting Lucretia is said to have been therapeutic for Gentileschi, who was also raped and brought her assaulter to trial.

Also part of the same private collection as Artemisia's Lucretia, this Lucretia will also be publicly revealed for the first time at auction. The artist, Annella di Massimo, was a prolific female painter in the 17th century in Naples and, like Artemisia, worked with Massimo Stanzione. Her late 1630s depiction of Lucretia is more graphic than Artemesia's, with blood dripping from Lucretia's breast and a pained look on her upturned flushed face. It is also a dark foreshadowing into the Annella's future: at the age of 33, the painter was allegedly stabbed to death by her husband, who believed she had a relationship with Massimo.

A third public unveiling of an Old Masters painting is an early work by the lauded Flemish Baroque painter Anthony van Dyck, who was the leading court portraitist in London and throughout Europe from 1620 to 1641. Portrait of a Noble Person with a Parrot was painted in the Netherlands in 1619, while he was part of the Antwerp Luke Guild after working in Peter Paul Rubens' studio. The first owners belonged to the aristocratic Arenberg family; the noble person portrayed may been related, but their identity is unknown.

This important Italian Baroque painting was a late work of master Guido Reni and was originally gifted to a Bolognese abbot in the 1630s. Reni worked in Rome and Bologna, and here his work depicts the Roman goddess of fortune, Fortuna. A pink cloth floats around her as  she hovers in the sky above the earth’s spherical form and drops money and gems from a purse.

Representations of female protagonists further dominate Dorotheum’s auction of 19th century paintings. Here, historical painter John William Godward has conjured a fashion-conscious Roman woman. The young lady, who seems to have sunk into ‘sweet dreams’ wears a pink stole, the modernized version of the Roman toga, with a dark purple "palla" draped over it. These colors were a status indicator: they were primarily worn by members of the upper class.

In the jewellery portion of Dorotheum’s auctions is this tiara commissioned by Archduchess Marie Valerie of Austria. The Archduchess was the youngest daughter of the imperial couple Franz Joseph I and Elisabeth, and this diadem was designed for the occasion of her daughter Hedwig's wedding in 1918. The elegant tiara, which can be divided into seven brooches, is adorned with diamonds totaling approximately 40 carats.

The week ends with the antique auction on October 25, where fine furniture, porcelain, glass and sculptures will be on call.

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