Lot 60
  • 60

Maerten de Vos

50,000 - 70,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Maerten de Vos
  • Abraham and Melchizedek
  • signed and dated lower left: M . DE VOS . F 1602
  • oil on panel


Anonymous Sale, London, Christie's, 27 May 1931, lot 134, (one of a pair, see below);
Dr. E.F. Schapiro, London.


London, Royal Academy of Arts, Flemish Exhibition, 1953-4, no. 261;
Manchester, City Art Gallery, Exhibition of European Art (1520-1600), 9 March-6 April 1965, no. 240;
Milwaukee, Milwaukee Art Center, The Bible Through Dutch Eyes From Genesis Through The Apocrypha, 9 April-23 May 1976, no. 4.


H. Gerson and E.H. ter Kuile, Art and Architecture in Belgium, 1600-1800, London 1960, p. 62;
L. van Puyvelde, La Peinture flamande au siècle de Bosch et Breughel, Paris 1962, p. 382;
A. Zweite, Marten de Vos als Maler, Berlin 1980, p. 320, cat. no. 106, fig. 135.

Catalogue Note

Dated 1602, the present work was painted just one year before the artist's death. Originally it would have been paired with another scene from the Old Testament, The Gathering of Manna. That work, also dated 1602, was recently sold, London, Christie's, 10 July 2002, lot 18, for $154,815, but as a pair, the two pictures were last together when sold in 1931 (see Provenance).  Both the present subject and The Gathering of Manna have been connected to New Testament scenes, specifically that of the Last Supper. Here, the action of Melchisedek providing wine and bread to Abraham (Genesis 14, 18-20) has been described as a prefiguration of the actions of Christ during the Last Supper. Though much of de Vos' output towards the end of his career was focussed on large scale altarpieces (see for example his St Luke Painting the Virgin, also executed in 1602, painted for the Guild of St. Luke [Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp]), both the present work and its pair belong to a small group of cabinet pictures, among which include the Apollo and the Muses in the Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts, Brussels (inv. no. 3882).