The rich, gold and red cope that Pilate wears here is almost identical to that worn by Pilate in Lievens' work, as well as by the kneeling king in Abraham Bloemaert's Adoration of the Magi of 1624, in the Centraal Museum, Utrecht.3 And the figures in the upper right corner are also reminiscent of the work of Utrecht-based painter, Gerrit van Honthorst. Interestingly, a painting sold at Jacques Schulman, Amsterdam, 20 October 1903, lot 882 (recorded at the RKD, The Hague), with an old (and erroneous) attribution to Honthorst, undoubtedly depicts the same model as Pilate here, as the father of the Prodigal Son, wearing similar costume and with two men in the same pose behind his shoulder.
We are grateful to Dr. Wayne Franits, Dr. Bernhard Schnackenburg and Dr. Jasper Hillegers for their help in the cataloguing of this lot. Dr. Hillegers also points out the similarity in handling between the present work and the painting with an erstwhile association with the Amsterdam painter, Lambert Jacobsz. - The Last Supper, in the Kadriorg Art Museum, Tallinn;4 he also tentatively suggests the possibility of a lost Utrecht prototype (possibly by Bloemaert or Honthorst) in which all these iterations of the subject, composition and motifs might find their source.
1 Inv. no. 1363; see E. Lessing and V. Pomarède, The Louvre. All the paintings, Paris 2011, p. 318, no. 4, reproduced in colour. This painting has been associated with that sold in Paris, firstly 6 January 1794, lot 14, and subsequently 21 July 1795, lot 22, as Gerrit van Honthorst.
2 Inv. no. S 2195; see A.K. Wheelock, in Jan Lievens. A Dutch Master Rediscovered, exh. cat., New Haven and London 2008, p. 94, cat. no. 7, reproduced in colour p. 95.
3 Inv. no. 2575; see M. Roethlisberger, Abraham Bloemaert and his sons, Doornspijk 1993, vol. I, p. 39, cat. no. 387; reproduced vol. II, figs 543 and 545;
4 Inv. no. EKM j 46265.
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