Pieter Cornelisz. Kunst Leiden 1489/90 - 1560/61
- Pieter Cornelisz. Kunst
- pen and black ink
Sale, London, Sotheby's, 21 May 1963, lot 91 (together with pendant representing Justice);
Dr. C.R. Rudolf, London (L.2811b), his sale, Amsterdam, Sotheby Mak van Waay, 6 June 1977, lot 6;
Sale, New York, Sotheby's, 13 January 1989, lot 74 (purchased by the present owner)
This drawing and the companion sheet representing Justice, together with which it was sold in 1963, must originate from a series of depictions of the virtues. Such series are an important component of Pieter Cornelisz. Kunst’s work, and in most cases were probably made as designs for glass panels. The best known series of this type have always been the two partial sets of drawings of The Seven Acts of Mercy, dating from 1524 and 1531, although it has recently been suggested that in fact the PC monogram found on those drawings may in fact be that of an artist recorded as “Meester Pieter Huygenz. van Cloetinge”, rather than Pieter Cornelisz. Kunst.1
There is, however, no reason to question the traditional attribution of the present drawing, which is entirely typical of the style that has always been identified with Pieter Cornelisz. Kunst. In addition to the sheet with which this one was previously sold, at least two other, very similarly executed drawings of standing allegorical figures in landscapes are known: one, representing Geometry, was sold, Amsterdam, Sotheby Mak van Waay, 25 April 1983, lot 15, and the other, also representing Faith, is in the British Museum.2 In cataloguing the British Museum drawing, Popham (loc. cit.) stated that the style of the background landscape suggested a date fairly late in the artist’s career, perhaps around 1540, a conclusion which would also seem appropriate for the present drawing.
Pieter Cornelisz., known as Kunst, was the son of the famous Leiden artist Cornelis Engelbrechtsz., with whom he studied. A fellow pupil at the same time was none other than Lucas van Leyden, whose style had a considerable influence on the young Pieter Cornelisz. Recorded in the Leiden archives in 1514, 1519 and 1523, it seems that Pieter Cornelisz. went to live and work with his brother in Bruges in 1530, but by 1532 he was back in his native city, where he seems otherwise to have lived and worked throughout his life, chiefly as a designer of stained glass, but also making paintings and other works of art.
1. See J.R. Judson, in The Age of Bruegel: Netherlandish Drawings in the Sixteenth Century, exhibition catalogue, Washington, National Gallery of Art, and New York, The Pierpont Morgan Library, 1986-7, p. 122
2. See A.E. Popham, Drawings by Dutch and Flemish Artists…in the British Museum, vol. V, London 1931, p. 11, no. 3, reproduced plate III.