Auction House

Auction: Old Master Paintings

08. November 2022, 3:00 pm

Object overview


Francesco Monti

(Bologna 1685 - 1768 Bergamo)

„Belshazzar's feast“
oil on canvas
75.5 x 100 cm


Estate of Victor D. Spark (1898-1991), New York;
Christie's New York, 9 October 1991, lot 6 (as Francesco Monti with false biographical dates);
collection Erna Weidinger (1923–2021)


1961 Dallas, The Dallas Museum of Contemporary Art, The Art that Broke the Looking Glass, 14 November - 31 Dezember (as "by a member of the Bibiena family"), no. 45


The Dallas Museum of Contemporary Art, The Art that Broke the Looking Glass. The Past in Review No. 1, Dallas 1961, no. 45 (as "by a member of the Bibiena family")

Estimate: € 15.000 - 30.000
Result: € 12.000
Auction is closed.

The story of Belshazzar's feast comes from the Old Testament book of Daniel (Dan 5). The Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar had plundered the temple in Jerusalem, stealing sacred objects such as the golden cups. His son Belshazzar used these cups for a great feast at which the hand of God appeared and wrote on the wall the words that prophesied the downfall of Belshazzar's reign: "mene, mene, tekel, upharsin". In the present painting, these can be read above the cartouche behind the banqueting table.
The late Baroque painter Francesco Monti, who came from Bologna, uses mannerist stylistic elements and impressive lighting effects to render this scene. He was influenced by Parmigianino (1503 - 1540) and also his contemporary Giuseppe Maria Crespi (1665 - 1747), which is particularly evident in the elegant figures.