Bourdon (1616-71) was one of the 12 founding members of the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture in Paris and was a prodigious history painter producing biblical and mythological subjects.
This large 4ft 4in x 3ft 11in (1.3 x.1.2m) oil on canvas which depicts an Old Testament subject – the Sacrifice of Jepthah’s daughter – is typical of his oeuvre. Indeed, another very similar but more spontaneous version by Bourdon is in the Musée des Beaux Arts in Lyon.
The more finished aspect of R&C’s painting suggests, says the auction house, that this is a second commission with elements of the background executed by the artist’s workshop, and is datable to Bourdon’s first sojourn in Paris between 1642-52.
The painting came from an Italian collection and was acquired from an antique dealer as a work after Sebastien Bourdon. It is estimated at €80,000-120,000.
No details have yet emerged about the original commission but it is a subject that pre-occupied the artist for some time. A preparatory sketch for the same subject with similar disposition of the main characters sold at Tajan in Paris in 2001.