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Details & Cataloguing

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Gillis van Valckenborch
ANTWERP 1570 - 1622 FRANKFURT AM MAIN
THE WEDDING OF NEPTUNE AND AMPHITRITE
signed and dated in the centre: Gillis.va.valk. / 1592
oil on canvas
139 by 272.9 cm.; 54 3/4  by 107 1/8  in.
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Provenance

Conradi, Hannover (1729-69);

Acquired with a large part of the Conradi collection by an ancestor of the present owner in circa 1809.

Catalogue Note

Gillis van Valckenborch was the son of Marten van Valckenborch, nephew of Lucas van Valckenborch and brother of Frederick van Valckenborch.  By 1586, Marten and his two sons had settled in Frankfurt-am-Main, where Lucas joined them in 1592-93.   This picture, typical of the artist in its large scale and composition packed with swirling figures, was almost certainly painted in Frankfurt.  Most of Gillis' few surviving works are on large canvases of this oblong format, a type also favoured by his uncle Lucas, including the latter's market scenes painted around this date in collaboration with the young Georg Flegel.  
A comparable large picture by Valckenborch, incorporating similarly posed contorted figure groups, is in the Schönborn collection at Pommersfelden. Although described as a Feast of Sea Gods, it probably also represents the Wedding of Neptune and Amphitrite. It was first described in the Schönborn collection in Gaibach’s catalogue of 1721, but omitted from Frimmel’s catalogue of 1894. Valckenborch's mannerist style, notable for its precise drawing, strong colours and panoramic landscapes, was well suited to mythological scenes involving large animated groups of figures and dramatic action.

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