Lot 252
  • 252

GERARD VAN KUIJL | Continence of Scipio

100,000 - 150,000 USD
125,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Continence of Scipio
  • signed with monogram lower left: GK F. 
  • oil on canvas


Anonymous sale, Amsterdam, 26 April 1910;
Anonymous sale, London, 8 May 1913;
Anonymous sale, Zurich, Koller, 9 November 1973, as Scipio's Grandmother, lot 2789;
Anonymous sale, Zurich, Koller, 8 November 1974, lot 2756.

Catalogue Note

Gerard van Kuijl trained with Utrecht master Gerard van Honthorst and emulated his teacher’s classicizing history paintings. The present composition is indebted to Honthorst’s 1624 Solon Before Croesus (fig. 1), suggesting that Van Kuijl may have been in the studio during its creation.1 Van Kuijl’s figure of Scipio also resembles a recurring facial type from Van Honthorst’s history paintings, which is itself based on the likeness of King Friedrich V of Bohemia, the so-called Winter King living in exile in the Hague.2 Livy's record of Scipio's magnanimous character was popular in Dutch golden age painting, poetry, and theater as a moralizing example. During Emperor Scipio Africanus’s siege of Carthage in 209 BC, he showed great magnanimity by freeing Celtiberian Prince Allucius and his fiancé and allowing them to marry. Although the woman’s parents offered Scipio their treasure as ransom, Scipio refused it and instead gave it back to the couple as wedding present, prompting Allucius to pledge his own tribe’s loyalty to the Romans. In the politically turbulent 17th century, images of Scipio like the present example were commissioned for town halls and court buildings to remind viewers to be benevolent leaders.


1. Van Kuijl was a witness to Van Honthorst’s wife’s will in 1625. See F. Tissink & H.F. de Wit, Gorcumse schilders in de Gouden Eeuw, Gorinchem 1987, p. 26.

2. For example, Van Honthorst’s posthumous Portrait of Frederick V, signed and dated 1633. See J.R. Judson & R.E.O. Ekkart, Gerrit van Honthorst: 1592-1656, Doornspijk 1999, p. 260, no. 332, ill. 222.