516
516
Jan Lievens
PORTRAIT OF A YOUNG BOY, HEAD AND SHOULDERS, WEARING ARMOUR
Estimate
120,000180,000
LOT SOLD. 225,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
516
Jan Lievens
PORTRAIT OF A YOUNG BOY, HEAD AND SHOULDERS, WEARING ARMOUR
Estimate
120,000180,000
LOT SOLD. 225,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Master Paintings & Sculpture Day Sale

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New York

Jan Lievens
LEIDEN 1607 - 1674 AMSTERDAM
PORTRAIT OF A YOUNG BOY, HEAD AND SHOULDERS, WEARING ARMOUR

Provenance

Felix Holzapfel, London;
With Galerie Edel, Cologne, from whom purchased Dr Hinrich Bischoff in the late 1980s;
Thence by descent.

Exhibited

Cologne, Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, on loan (inv. no. Dep. 517).

Literature

W. Sumowski, Gemälde der Rembrandt Schüler, Landau/Pfalz 1983, vol. V, p. 3109, no. 2124, reproduced in colour p. 3269;
B. S[chnackenburg], in E. Mai (ed.), Das Kabinett des Sammlers, Cologne 1983, pp. 161-2, no. 64, reproduced in colour p. 163.

Catalogue Note

This little-studied and strongly-lit picture is an early work by Jan Lievens, painted in the mid-1620s, when he must have been exposed to the first generation of Dutch Caravaggisti who were starting to return to the North from Rome.  Over the last decade and a half, several early works by Jan Lievens have come to light, and his early oeuvre, and the dating of it, has been reassessed.  The exhibition devoted to him in 2009 under a team of distinguished scholars led by Arthur Wheelock was subtitled with good reason A Dutch Master Rediscovered, and cast much fresh light on various aspects of Lievens’ career, not least of which his work at the outset of his career, in the mid-1620s.1

Werner Sumowski, who first published this work, had earlier thought it to be by Rembrandt’s pupil Jacob Backer, but rightly compared it with the cycle of the Evangelists in Bamberg, which is generally dated circa 1626-7.2  The broad handling of the St John in particular is reminiscent of the present work, but much more striking is the likeness of the model.  Sumowski suggested that this might be a self-portrait, although in fact the suggestion had already been made by Helga Gutbrod in 1996, as Arthur Wheelock noted in his catalog entry.3  Yet closer to the present work in style and handling is the strongly Caravaggesque and dramatically lit Saint Peter Released from Prison, which came to light at Sotheby’s in London in July 2000, and which, restored, was included in the 2009 exhibition.4  The physiognomy of the Angel strongly resembles the present youth, and must have been based on the same model, perhaps also Lievens himself.  The Saint Peter Released from Prison is likely to be even earlier in date, circa 1624-5, and the present work too is likely to date from no later than 1626.

We are grateful to Lloyd DeWitt for endorsing the attribution to Lievens, based on first hand inspection. 

 1.  K. Wheelock Jr. (ed.), Jan Lievens.  A Dutch Master Rediscovered, exhibition catalogue, New Haven & London 2009.
2.  See under literature.
3.  H. Gutbrod, Lievens und Rembrandt. Studien zum Verhältnis ihrer Kunst, Frankfurt-am-Main 1996, p. 190; see Wheelock under literature, p. 99, reproduced p. 101.
4.  See Wheelock under literature, p. 90, no. 5, reproduced p. 91.

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