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PROPERTY FROM A EUROPEAN PRIVATE COLLECTION

Maarten van Heemskerck
CHRIST AS THE MAN OF SORROWS
JUMP TO LOT
33

PROPERTY FROM A EUROPEAN PRIVATE COLLECTION

Maarten van Heemskerck
CHRIST AS THE MAN OF SORROWS
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Old Masters Evening Sale

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London

Maarten van Heemskerck
HEEMSKERK 1498 - 1574 HAARLEM
CHRIST AS THE MAN OF SORROWS
signed and dated on a cartellino upper right: MARTINVS HEEMSKERIC INVENIT/ ANNO MDXXV

and inscribed:

NE FLVXVS IRRITVS SIT
NOSTRI CRVORIS O(LIM)
QVO SANO VVLNVS
GENVS BEOQVE LAPS(VM)
FOSSVM CATVT TOT A
SPINIS MANVS HIAN (=INANES)
LATVS PEDES APER(TI)
COR FEREVM MOVE(ANT)1


oil on canvas (traditionally said to have been transferred from panel; see below)
91 x 77.3 cm.; 35 3/4  x 30 3/8  in.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

With Hans Wendland, Paris;

Acquired from the above by the father of the present owner in 1937;

Thence by inheritance.

Literature

I.M. Veldman, Maerten van Heemskerck and Dutch Humanism in the sixteenth century, Maarssen 1977, p. 26f.;

R. Grosshans, Maerten van Heemskerck, Berlin 1980, pp. 89–90, cat. no. 1, reproduced fig. 1.

Catalogue Note

This is one of the earliest paintings by the titan of high Renaissance and early-Mannerist art, Maerten van Heemskerck. The son of a farmer, Maerten would become one of the most influential artists in northern Europe, spending a long period in Italy, from 1532–36, where he worked with, among others, Francesco Salviati in Rome. The expressive nature of the subject of Christ as the Man of Sorrows lent itself well to Heemskerck's own brand of Mannerism and he treated it on several further occasions throughout the course of his career. This, his earliest depiction of Christ, was to influence several other works from Heemskerck's circle.2

According to Grosshans, the ninety-year old dealer Hans Wendland, from whom the previous owner had bought the painting in 1937, confessed to having split it from a panel with the Virgin and Child on the other side, which he then sold as Jan van Scorel.3 There does however appear to be little proof of this occurrence both because there is little, if any, evidence of this painting having ever been on a wooden support and because it is of different dimensions to the companion work. The inscriptions and dates, too, are different; the present work being dated 1525 and the companion 1532. Even accounting for Grosshans hypothesis that some digits may be missing from the end of the date (done in Roman numerals) and that it may originally have been dated to the late 1520s, there is still a disparity. It may well therefore be that the story is apocryphal.

Nonetheless the present painting is one of the earliest known works by Heemskerck and is likely to have been created during the years between 1525 and 1530, a period of collaboration with Jan van Scorel in Haarlem. The unusual form of signature ‘Heemskeric’ reappears in three other works by the artist: on a drawing of the Forum Romanum (1535), on Vulcan's forge in Prague (dated 1536), and on the engraving by Cornelis Bos  of 1537 which shows Prudence and Justice.4 Stylistically it most resembles the Man of Sorrows in Ghent from 1532.5 The sculpting of the athletic body with the meticulous rendering of the neck-, breast- and hip-muscles is very similar in both depictions.

1. 'In order that our blood may not have flowed in vain, with which I am able to heal wounds and make the fallen human race happy, may the head which was pierced by so many thorns, the poor hands, the side, and the pierced feet all move a hardened heart'.

2. See for example the work at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; Grosshans 1980, reproduced fig. 146

3. Grosshans 1980, cat. no. 2, reproduced fig. 2.

4. For the Prague painting see Grosshans 1980, cat. no. 21, reproduced fig. 22.

5. Grosshans 1980, cat. no. 16, reproduced fig. 16.

Old Masters Evening Sale

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