JAN ANTHONISZ. VAN RAVESTEYN | Portrait of a young golfer | 楊・ 安東尼斯・凡・拉費斯泰因 | 《年輕高爾夫球手肖像》
Property from a European Private Collection
JAN ANTHONISZ. VAN RAVESTEYN
The Hague circa 1572 - 1657
Portrait of a young golfer
dated centre right: Ano:1626
oil on oak panel
112 x 85 cm.; 44⅛ x 33½ in.
112 x 85公分；44 ⅛ x 33 ½英寸
The painting is in good overall condition with no major damages visible. The panel is cradled, flat and stable. The varnish is clear and even, if a little flat and matt in appearance. The panel is constructed of three vertical planks; the joins are visible only in the upper third. There are some scuffs and losses at the upper margin, likely the result of some frame abrasion.
On close inspection there is some very slight wear in the dark tones and in some of the finer details of the black embroidery at the left of the child’s outfit. Inspection under ultra violet light reveals small retouchings scattered throughout, mostly of a cosmetic nature. The most concentrated area is in the white linen of the child’s apron – there are only a few in his face, where otherwise the softer and freer brushwork is well preserved. There is nice impasto in the lace, chain and feathers of his cap that is well preserved also. It seems possible that there is a wash strengthening through the dark tones of the background at the upper left. There are two lines of retouchings along the panel joins, both running approx. 5 inches in length from the upper margin.
The portrait is offered in a gilt gesso and carved wood frame with only a few chips and losses.
"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."
Freiherr Max von Goldschmidt-Rothschild (1843–1940), Frankfurt am Main, by 1925/26 (as Jacob Gerritsz Cuyp);
Forced sale by the above to the city of Frankfurt am Main, November/December 1938;
Städelsches Kunstinstitut und Städtische Galerie, Frankfurt am Main (inv. no. SG 878);
Restituted by the city of Frankfurt am Main to the heirs of Max von Goldschmidt-Rothschild, 26 February 1949;
Anonymous sale, Musselburgh, Sotheby’s, 13 July 1992, lot 535 (as Jan van Ravesteyn), where acquired by the husband of the present owner.
G. Swarzenski, Vorläufiges Verzeichnis der Ausstellung von Meisterwerken alter Malerei aus Privatbesitz im Städelschen Kunstinstitut, exh. cat., Frankfurt 1925, p. 13, no. 48 (as Jacob Gerritsz Cuyp);
List of objects of the collection of Baron Max von Goldschmidt-Rothschild, MSS, drawn up on 26 February 1949, p. 25, no. 1314;
A.C. Claxton, ‘Medals in portraits of children in seventeenth-century Dutch painting’, in The Medal, Autumn 1995, vol. 27 pp. 17–18, reproduced in black and white p. 17, fig. 8;
J.B. Bedaux and R. Ekkart (eds), Pride and Joy: Children’s Portraits in the Netherlands 1500–1700, exh. cat., Amsterdam 2000, pp. 21, 61–62, reproduced p. 23, fig. 7;
R.K. Bargmann, Serendipity of early golf, London 2010, p. 62;
U. Fleckner and M. Hollein (eds), Museum im Widerspurch: das Städel und der Nationalsozialismus, Berlin 2011, p. 324.
Frankfurt am Main, Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Vorläufiges verzeichnis der ausstellung von Meisterwerken Alter Malerei aus Privatbesitz, 1925–26, no. 48 (as Jacob Gerritsz Cuyp), lent by Max von Goldschmidt-Rothschild.
This portrait of a little boy, in his finest garb of silks, lace and a feathered hat, surrounded by his toys, paints a quintessential image of childhood in the upper echelons of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Netherlandish society. The portrayal of children in Dutch art around 1600 is a phenomenon of its own that provides a link between the older tradition of representing children only in the role of the Christ Child or as children of divinely chosen royalty, and a new reflection of the infancy and childhood of the political and religious policies of the independent Dutch Republic. These images declare the values and principles by which the new state would be guided in order to achieve an ideal Protestant society.
The boy holds a stick used in the game colf. Colf originated in the late Middle Ages, its aim being to hit a stuffed leather ball towards a fixed target in as few strokes as possible. The stick consisted of a wooden stem with a lead head. We see here an elaborately decorated version – the handle wrapped in a black and white check cover with tasseled fringing. A parakeet or small parrot perches on the arm of the chair, on the seat one can see a drum and drum sticks, and against which leans a fine hobby-horse. A black and white dog sits at the boy’s feet. The boy is depicted alongside attributes selected from the material culture in which he would have been immersed; the toys give the portrait a playful feel and emphasize the boy’s childhood, but also tell us something more about the subject. The child’s social status (and hence that of his family), for example, is confirmed by the heavy gold chains with a medal that hangs accross his chest; the well-trained pedigree spotted dog, sitting so neatly and quietly, is indicative of his good upbringing.
The child’s outfit includes a black and white feathered hat which is one of the only clear (to our modern eye) clues as to the gender of the sitter, for girls were never depicted with a hat of this type. His dress is covered in exquisite blackwork embroidery and his outfit has been carefully planned to complement his parents' monochromatic vision – from his triple strand pearl and jet bead bracelets, to his patterned shoes and lace-trimmed starched white linen apron that is only just been unfolded, to the handle of his colf club and even the complimentary tonality of his pet; this painting conveys the ultimate aspirations and pride of an extremely influential patron. It has been noted by Ann C. Claxton (see Literature) that it is strange that the meticulous detail of the child’s outfit has not been extended to the medal that the child wears, particularly seeing as the chain itself is so minutely observed. Perhaps the family are at pains to convey no particular affiliation to a political faction – a medal depicting say, Prince Maurice, may align the family with the Prince’s attempted gain of absolute power as ruler of the Protestant Netherlands and be seen to condone his policy of religious orthodoxy rather than toleration. Instead Ravesteyn has left the medal illegible, thus allowing the motif to assume a more general symbolism: the inclusion of the medal refers to wealth, and to the potential rewards of virtue.
Jan van Ravesteyn was cited by Karel van Mander as a fine portrait painter as early as 1604.2 He was trained by Michiel van Mierevelt (1566–1641) in Delft before moving to The Hague where for almost half a century he became one of the leading portraitists of the upper classes. Ravesteyn’s portraits of local dignitaries, military figures and groups are characterized by their formal poses, meticulous attention to details of costume and, as we see here, inclusion of background scenes and attributes that bear witness to the wealth and prominence of his sitters. There are several portraits of young children by Ravesteyn that bear close comparison with the present panel; most closely related is perhaps his 1632 signed portrait of Joannes de Ruyter (d. 1678), now in the collection of Princess Salimah Aga Khan, Switzerland.2 Joannes, like this boy, stands by a chair with a whip in one hand, and his hobby-horse, drum and sticks nearby. He too wears a medal on a heavy gold chain; the parakeet is perched on his outstretched hand.
1 K. van Mander, Het Schilderboeck waerin voor eerst de leerlustighe lueght…, Haarlem 1604, fol. 300.
2 Also on panel, 120.4 x 79.4 cm.; see Bedaux and Ekkart 2000, p. 147, no. 26, reproduced.