PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION
Anonymous sale, Berlin, Leo Spik, 18 September 1950, lot 300;
Anonymous sale, Berlin, Leo Spik, 24 November 1951, lot 265 (as 'Diana and Actaeon');
On the art market, Paris, 1969;
Anonymous sale, London, Sotheby's, 24 June 1970, lot 81, for £7,000, to Lady P. Cator (as dated 1608);
With David Carritt Ltd., London, 1971;
Anonymous sale, London, Christie's, 28 June 1974, lot 62 (as 'Mars, Venus and Cupid', datable to the early 1620s), where acquired by the late father of the present owner.
K. Ertz, Jan Brueghel the Younger (1601–1678). The paintings with œuvre catalogue, Freren 1984, pp. 70–71 and 422–23, cat. no. 262, reproduced p. 423 (as Jan Brueghel the Younger);
E.J. Sluijter, De 'Heydensche Fabulen' in de noordnederlandse schilderkunst, circa 1590–1670. Een proeve van beschrijving en interpretatie van schilderijen met verhalende onderwerpen uit de klassieke mythologie, doctoral diss., Leiden 1986, pp. 39, 125 and 136, reproduced fig. 66 (as dated 1622);
P.J.J van Thiel, Cornelis Cornelisz van Haarlem, 1562–1638: a monograph and catalogue raisonné, Doornspijk 1999, pp. 125, 136, and 362, cat. no. 172, reproduced plate 203.
This painting was first conceived as a much smaller panel, measuring 35 x 57 cm. (13 3/4 x 22 3/8 in.), extending from the figure of Cupid in the lower left corner, to Adonis' left hand in the upper right corner. This composition was enlarged considerably by Roelant Savery who extended Adonis' lance, added the cave and woods behind the couple and the deer in the lower left corner, as well as the hunting dogs and the extensive landscape.
The date of the original panel is difficult to discern, but the third figure – the least legible – most probably reads as a '1'. A date of 1610 is also loosely supported by the fact that Venus' pose here is almost identical to that of the figure of the goddess in Cornelis' Venus and Mars, in the National Museum, Warsaw, which is dated 1609.2
The extension of the panel is most likely to have occurred in 1618, when Savery worked briefly in Haarlem before moving to Utrecht later that year. Savery frequently collaborated with other artists to people his landscapes, but only one other example of a partnership with Cornelis is known: The Fall of Man, signed by Savery and dated 1618.3
1. According to information from Jan Briels, a painting described as 'Venus and Adonis', with figures by Cornelis and landscape by Savery is recorded in an Amsterdam inventory of 1633; see K.J. Müllenmeister, in Roelant Savery in seiner Zeit (1576–1639), exhibition catalogue, Cologne 1985, p. 36 (incorrectly identified with cat. no. 90 in that catalogue).
2. Inv. no. 137; see Van Thiel 1999, pp. 125 and 366, cat. no. 184, reproduced plate 201.
3. Present whereabouts unknown; see Van Thiel 1999, pp. 136, 183 and 292, cat. no. 3, reproduced plate 236.
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