Antwerp painter Jacobus Ferdinandus Saey primarily painted architectural fantasies, which can be characterised by the skillful employment of perspective and the exquisite rendering of different materials, in particular the marble columns. Other hallmarks of the artist are the checkered floors and the dramatic lighting. The building in this painting recurs, although within a different composition, in a painting sold New York, Sotheby's, 14 October 1999, lot 80.
Oddly enough, this painting bears a signature of Gerard Hoet (Zaltbommel 1648-1733 The Hague). Although Saey did collaborate with other artists for the staffage figures in his architectural views, it is highly unlikely that Hoet painted the figures in this work. The figures show hardly any stylistic similarities with Hoet's figures. Moreover, it is unlikely that their paths ever crossed, for already in 1649 did Saey arrive in Vienna, where he remained for the rest of his life.
We are grateful to Marijke de Kinkelder of the R.K.D., The Hague, for suggesting the attribution to Jacobus Ferdinandus Saey on the basis of photographs.
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