Four Continents
c. 1675
38" x 29"
Painting, Oil on canvas
Region: Italy
Extraordinary set of four Old Master paintings on canvas, depicting the Four Continents, America, Europe, Asia and Africa, from the estate of Rudolph Mickelson, 1215 Fifth Avenue, NYC.Estimated to be from the 16th to the 18th century. Measurements: "America" is 29"x 38" in a frame 31" x 40"."Europa" is 28"x 36" in a frame 31"x 38"."Africa" is 28"x 37" in a frame "30" x 39"."Asia" is 28"x 37" in a frame 30"x 39".According to Francis Keeping, Rudolph Mickelson's longtime partner:"The 4 paintings were purchased from Countess Marina Emo Capodilista.The paintings had been hung in Villa Emo at Monselice, Italy.Villa Emo: The 16th-century Villa is in Monselice, which is a bit southwest of Padova. Built by the architect Vincenzo Scamozzi, the Villa sits at the base of the Euganean Hills, is filled with more gorgeous frescoes by Giambattista del Moro and Vincenzo Scamozzi."

David Killen: "In terms of the history of art, it's fairly rare to find pairs of paintings, going back to the 18th century or earlier, that are not portraits of husbands and wives.You see landscape pairs on occassion, and that's about it, outside of museums and long held wealthy European collections that stayed in castles, manors, etc. Now let's talk about sets of three paintings. Outside of museums, sets of three paintings, almost unheard of. In my lifetime, and I have bought tens of thousands of paintings, I have never had a set of three paintings, although occassionally I have seen sets of three, in auction rooms, but usually 19th and 20th century, not earlier. Now let's talk about sets of four. Unheard of. I think you would be hard pressed to find a set a four paintings that stayed intact from the 18th century or earlier, anywhere in the world. They just didn't survive. Generally they were broken up, split up, divided or partly destroyed from wars or political upheaval. We know from the Renaissance belief that the world could be divided in the four continents: Asia, America, Europe and Africa, that this group of paintings is complete, there was no fifth painting, and we know nothing is missing."