Antwerp 1593 - 1678
1593 - 1678年，安特衛普
Christ among the Pharisees
oil on canvas
140.3 x 212.4 cm.; 55¼ x 83⅝ in.
140.3 x 212.4公分；55 ¼ x 83 ⅝英寸
The painting is in overall very good condition. It has received sensitive restoration, and it can certainly hang in its present state with no further intervention needed at this time.
The canvas is lined and stable on its stretcher. The glazes of the colors have been well-preserved in many areas, though some of the thinner tones have discolored with age. The image reads well beneath a slightly yellowed varnish, and the paint layer is stable with a very fine pattern of craquelure scattered here and there throughout. Faintly visible are some strokes of restoration at and near the extreme edges, for example at the upper left edge and center of the right edge, although these are not distracting. There is a very thin L-shaped repair at right edge of the large book at right and a spot in the upper right corner. There is a triangular spot of restoration in the background just above the head of the man wearing a red cap at right, as well as in the background above Christ’s outstretched left hand. Inspection under UV reveals some loose and sensitively applied strokes of retouching, primarily concentrated in the shadows and darker tones of the figures and costumes that have thinned over time. There are also some fine strokes visible in the faces of the figures, including the face of the man at upper left, some strokes in Christ’s face at center, and some thin strokes to address craquelure in the costume of the figure seated in the lower right foreground.
Offered in a simply carved dark wood frame.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
Sir Claude Alexander, Ballochmyle House, Mauchline, Scotland;
Acquired by the North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, in 1952;
By whom sold, New York, Sotheby's, 28 January 2000, lot 55;
Where acquired by a private collector;
From whom acquired by the current owner.
Wichita, Kansas, Wichita Art Museum, Masterpieces of Religious Art, 1 December 1967 – 30 January 1968, no. 36.
W.R. Valentiner, Catalogue of Paintings. North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh 1956, pp. 63–64, no. 119, reproduced;
M.C. Donnelly, 'Notes on Old and Modern Drawings: Calvinism in the Work of Jacob Jordaens', in Art Quarterly, Winter 1959, pp. 363–66, reproduced, fig. 5;
Masterpieces of Religious Art, exh. cat., Wichita Art Museum Wichita, Kansas, 1967, no. 36, reproduced;
R.-A. d'Hulst, Jordaens Drawings, London 1974, under no. A351;
R.-A. d'Hulst, Jacob Jordaens, London 1982, p. 253.
Painted by Jacob Jordaens in about 1660–70, this depiction of Christ among the Pharisees dates from the years just before the artist's conversion to Protestantism, when the differences between Catholic and Protestant doctrine must have been much on his mind. A rather atypical example of his religious production, this painting seems in fact to belie his Calvinist leanings.
Jordaens, his daughter, and his household all converted to Protestantism in 1671, when the artist was 78 years of age. His relationship with Protestantism dated much earlier, however; his wife who died in 1659 was buried in the Calvinist church at Putte, just across the Dutch border. The Catholic authorities were suspicious of his leanings even earlier than that; Jordaens was asked to account for the purpose of a trip to Brussels in 1649 (it was, he explained, to deal with a legal matter there). It seems likely that Jordaens refrained from publicly eschewing the Catholic faith for business reasons; in Catholic Antwerp it made sense not to raise the issue with his clientele.
In depicting Christ among the Pharisees, with the Dove of the Holy Spirit hovering above, Jordaens has in fact created a pictorial religious debate rather than illustrating an actual episode from the New Testament. The books held open by the Pharisees are written in Flemish and the text seems to relate to, but not transcribe, verses from the Old and New Testament (Isaiah 63 on the left and John on the right). The text on the left roughly translates as ‘We saw him but did not recognize him’, a point that Jordaens humorously emphasizes with the half-blind scholar holding large glasses as he cranes his head toward the book and Christ. The group of Pharisees at right are confronted with text from the New and Old Testaments, stating ‘Jesus Christ is the truth. God lives forever’ and ‘I am the resurrected’. Christ, with one hand on the scriptures and with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit above, is clearly meant as the one way to salvation. His presence here emphasizes the divine authorship of the Bible. The Pharisees, meanwhile, who see but do not see, represent the erroneous beliefs of the Roman Church.