oil on copper, the reverse marked with the brand of the Antwerp coppersmith Peeter Stas (circa 1565-after 1616)
Sparre frame type 2, without surmounting cartouche. Numbered on the reverse of the frame: No 77
Gustaf Adolf Sparre (1746-1794);
Sparre inv., 1794, no. 32.
Granberg, 1885-6, no. 22;
Göthe, 1895, p. 12, no. 4;
Kjellberg, 1966, pp. 345-46;
Hasselgren, 1974, pp. 116, 120, 127 and 130, reproduced p. 163;
K. Ertz, Jan Brueghel der Ältere ... Die Gemälde mit kritischem Oeuvrekatalog, Cologne 1979, pp. 146 and 583, no. 152, reproduced p. 146, fig. 151 (as "Jan Brueghel the Elder ?").
Klaus Ertz, who seems not to have inspected this picture in the original, catalogued it as by Jan Brueghel the Elder but with a question mark (in the body of his text he states that the attribution to Jan Brueghel should be treated with caution on grounds of the untypical signature), tending to the view that it should be dated on grounds of style to circa 1610. No prime version is known, although a very beautiful drawing by Jan Brueghel the Elder in Brussels, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Collection de Grez, may have served as the prototype (see fig. 1).1 Ertz cautiously expresses the view that there may be a lost original painting by Brueghel.
This painting is on an expensive copper support made by the principal manufacturer of copper plates in Antwerp, Peeter Stas. Stas' stamp seems to have changed almost every year until 1610, and often his coppers are dated with the year of manufacture. By comparison with dated stamps, backed up by data from stamped coppers supporting dated paintings, the present copper plate can cautiously be dated to before 1606.2 Since Stas coppers were usually used within a couple of years of manufacture, Ertz's conjectural dating of circa 1610 may be too late. Although it does not appear to be original, the date indicated by the inscription is more likely.
Since parts of the picture are of greater quality than the rest, it is plausible that Jan Brueghel the Elder may have painted some parts himself, while leaving the greater part of the execution to an assistant. The following lot has been considered its pendant since the 18th century, and may well have been conceived as such in Brueghel's workshop. Both were catalogued by Granberg and Göthe as by Jan Brueghel the Elder.
1. See Ertz, p. 146, reproduced p. 147, fig. 152.
2. See J. Wadum, in Copper as Canvas, exhibition catalogue, New York/ Oxford 1999, p.104, esp. figs. 5.11 and 5.12.
Please call 1-800-555-5555 to order a print catalog for this sale.
Online Registration to Bid is Closed for this Sale. Would you like to watch the live sale?Watch Live Sale