- Sebastiaan Vrancx
- a palace garden with elegant figures playing backgammon
- signed with monogram on the horse, lower left: SV
- oil on copper
- 25 by 32.1 cm.; 9 3/4 by 12 5/8 in.
With Galerie Robert Finck, Brussels, 1968.
This is a relatively early work by Vrancx, probably executed in the first decade of the 17th century, for it reflects the artist's recent trip to Italy (1596-1601) where he was profoundly influenced by Paul Bril and Willem van Nieulandt amongst others; the background ruins in this scene are, in particular, very clearly indebted to the latter. Vrancx's treatments of palace architecture and gardens, often borrowed from Hans Vredeman de Vries and populated by elegant and distinguished people enjoying themselves, formed the basis of his oeuvre after his return to the North in 1601. These works usually take on some moralising overtone, as here, where a gentleman is seen seducing a young lady, while others are at play gambling (the cards strewn across the floor being a symbol of vice). Soon though Vrancx's output was to be dominated by the small cavalry battles for which he is probably best known and to which over half his extant oeuvre is devoted. Vrancx was probably responsible for introducing the subject matter to The Netherlands and these battle scenes were to directly influence the future careers of Pieter Meulenaer, Pieter Snayers and Esaias van de Velde among many others.
A copy of this picture was sold at Christie's South Kensington, 23 April 2004, lot 17.