11
11

PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF PROFESSOR EGBERT HAVERKAMP-BEGEMANN

Attributed to Gerrit Pietersz.
RECTO: THE ADORATION OF THE SHEPHERDS VERSO: PYGMALION, AND A SEPARATE STUDY OF A FEMALE FIGURE
JUMP TO LOT
11

PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF PROFESSOR EGBERT HAVERKAMP-BEGEMANN

Attributed to Gerrit Pietersz.
RECTO: THE ADORATION OF THE SHEPHERDS VERSO: PYGMALION, AND A SEPARATE STUDY OF A FEMALE FIGURE
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Old Master & British Works on Paper

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Attributed to Gerrit Pietersz.
AMSTERDAM 1566 - AFTER 1612
RECTO: THE ADORATION OF THE SHEPHERDS VERSO: PYGMALION, AND A SEPARATE STUDY OF A FEMALE FIGURE
Pen and brown ink and wash, over black chalk, heightened with white, the sheet washed light pink in the lower half (recto); black chalk (verso)
513 by 365 mm
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Provenance

Cornelius ver Heyden de Lancey (1889-1984), London and Jersey (L.2501c);
sale, London, Sotheby's, 11 July 2001, lot 34

Catalogue Note

This large and impressive drawing is in some respects close in style to the works of Goltzius, and also to his fellow Haarlem Mannerist, Karel van Mander, and the figure of Venus in the chalk study on the verso is very similar, though in reverse, to that in Goltzius' 1593 engraving of the same subject. But despite the drawing's confident and accomplished technique and composition its attribution has proved elusive. No entirely comparable drawings by either of these artists, or indeed by any of their contemporaries, are known. 

At the time of the 2001 sale, a possible solution was kindly suggested by Prof. E.K.J. Reznicek, who tentatively proposed the attribution to Gerrit Pietersz. This artist was born in Amsterdam, but studied with Cornelis Cornelisz. in Haarlem in 1583, and later worked in Rome. Unfortunately, only some eight drawings by Pietersz. are known, most of which (including a version of the same subject as the recto, signed and dated 1601, in the Rijksprentenkabinet, Amsterdam) are less freely executed and dynamic than the present drawing, and closer in style to Bloemaert and Wtewael than to the Haarlem Mannerists. Nonetheless, there are significant stylistic parallels with one sheet, Pietersz.'s signed drawing of Mercury in the Boijmans van Beuningen Museum, Rotterdam, executed circa 1592, in which we see much the same idiosyncratic penwork and facial type as in the recto of the present sheet.1 

With such a tiny corpus of surviving drawings to go on, attributions to Pietersz. must remain somewhat tentative, but the definite parallels between the present sheet and the otherwise uniquely energetic style of the Rotterdam drawing suggest that it is entirely possible that the former is also by Pietersz. If this is indeed the case, then this grand, double-sided sheet is by far the most impressive surviving drawing by the artist, and the verso is the only substantial chalk study that is known from his hand.

1. For further information, see P.J.J. van Thiel, 'Gerrit Pietersz.: addenda en corrigenda,' Was getekend... Tekenkunst door de eeuwen heen, liber amicorum prof.dr. E.K.J. Reznicek (Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek 38, 1987), Houten 1988, pp. 355-368, in particular p. 356, fig. 2 (Rotterdam drawing), and p. 367, note 16, full list of known works by the artist.

Old Master & British Works on Paper

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London