Lot 41
  • 41

Hermann Hahn

150,000 - 200,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Hermann Hahn
  • The marriage of Valentin von Bodecker and Agathe von der Linde, the city of Gdańsk beyond
  • signed and inscribed lower left on a cartellino: Vina Venusq,[ue] Ceres Propellunt Corpore Morbos, / His Hos impellunt Vina Venusq[ue] Ceres. / Ista Voluptatis Genitrices: Ista Voluptas / Progenuit, Matres sunt genitrice fate. / [...?] gula modicæ sunt pharmaca grata Veneno / [T...?] Venena dabunt prodiga Sumpta gulæ / Herman Han [...?] & Pinxit
  • oil on panel


Sale, Berlin, Rudolph Lepke, 9 December 1912, lot number unknown (according to RKD).                                                                                          


J. Palubicki, Malrze Gdanscy: malarze, szklarze, rysownicy i rytownicy w okresie nowozytnym w gdanskich materialach archiwalnych, Gdansk 2009, vol. 1, p. 234,  no. 156, reproduced;
E. Kizik, Prusy Królewskie 1454–1772: spoleczenstwo kultura gospodarka, Gdansk 2012, p. 315, reproduced p. 532;
J. Tylicki, 'Obraz "Alegoria cnoty malzenskiej". Klucz do drugiego oblicza sztuki Hermana Hana', in Biuletyn Historii Sztuki, 59, 1997, pp. 38–59, no. 1-2.


The following condition report is provided by Hamish Dewar who is an external specialist and not an employee of Sotheby's: Structural Condition The panel has been gessoed on the reverse and there is evidence of five vertical batons that have now been removed and replaced with one long horizontal baton which runs across the full width of the panel. The panel appears to be generally secure although there is one slightly open horizontal crack approximately 4 cm above the lower horizontal framing edge. There is evidence of a horizontal panel join which runs across the width of the panel, approximately 20 cm below the upper horizontal edge. Paint Surface The paint surface has a reasonably even varnish layer although in the area where retouchings have been applied, the varnish is slightly matt. Inspection under ultra-violet light shows a line of retouching running along the full width of the panel join mentioned above and also a line of retouching along the slightly open split which is 4 cm above the lower horizontal framing edge. This line of retouching is approximately 18 cm in length with other surrounding retouchings. There are a number of retouchingss on the framing edges, in particular in the lower right corner and a vertical line which is approximately 6 cm in length running down from the upper horizontal edge into the red draperies of the tent. There are other small retouchings surrounding this vertical line. There are other scattered retouchings including a number of what would appear to be earlier retouchings in the darker shadows in the upper left of the composition. There may be other retouchings beneath older varnish layers which are not easily identifiable under ultra-violet light. There is some slight abrasion along the horizontal panel join approximately 25 cm in from the right vertical framing edge. Summary The painting would therefore appear to be in essentially good condition with much of the fine detail being well preserved.
"This lot is offered for sale subject to Sotheby's Conditions of Business, which are available on request and printed in Sotheby's sale catalogues. The independent reports contained in this document are provided for prospective bidders' information only and without warranty by Sotheby's or the Seller."

Catalogue Note

The painting records the marriage between Valentin van Bodecker, a burgomaster of Gdańsk (1578–1635) and Agathe von der Linde. It was most likely intended as a wedding gift for Agathe. Valentin van Bodecker (the groom) also sat to Laurence Neter in a small oval portrait on copper now in the Muzeum Archeologiczno-Historyczne w Elblągu, Elblag (RKD image no. 165981). That portrait notes his birth year as 1578. As the inscription denotes, the painting is more than just a marriage portrait, drawing on the much-used proverb in Northern mannerism Sine Cerere et Baccho friget Venus – love needs food and wine to thrive.

Hermann Hahn was born in Nysa (Neuss) on the left bank of the Rhine near Dusseldorf. He studied in Flanders, and possibly, too, in Vienna. Around 1600 he moved to Gdańsk where he remained for much of his life, though he served for a period as court painter to Sigismund III of Poland. This work was probably painted shortly after his arrival in Gdańsk and in fact includes a detailed view of the artist's adopted city in the background.