The fortune of the Fugger family has become legendary. Nobody was wealthier than the bankers of Charles V. They resided in Augsburg that was for many years a capital city of good taste, famous for its silversmiths.
History also retained the name of a close adviser of Fugger, Matthäus Schwarz. One of the most original minds of his time, he was one of the first modern economists and paid a particular attention to the evolution of his own clothes by considering that their history marked his biography.
For the 35th birthday of his wife Barbara on 21 August 1542, Schwarz ordered her portrait adorned with astrological indications to the leading painter of Augsburg, Christoph Amberger, known as a portraitist of Emperor and Fugger.
Amberger belongs to the post-Dürer generation. Sitters pose with patience in an attitude that reveals their temperament. In this oil on panel 72 x 61 cm, Barbara Schwarz is seen at mid-length with rich embroidered and laced clothing that honor her husband's hobby. She holds a piece of silverware.
Another example of the humanistic quality of the art in that period is the portrait of the merchant Baldinger painted in Nuremberg in 1545 by Georg Pencz, one of the best successors to Dürer. This oil on panel 135 x 118 cm was sold for £ 5.6 million including premium at Christie's on July 6, 2010.
Please watch the video shared by Sotheby's from their new 'The Costumist' video series. Sotheby's catalogue and Ms O'Reilly in the video comment that the black dye was very expensive : a black dress was a symbol of the utmost wealth.
SOLD for £ 790K including premium