Property from the SØR Rusche Collection
PIETER DE BLOOT
Rotterdam circa 1601/2 - 1658
PARABLE OF THE BLIND LEADING THE BLIND
signed with initials lower right on the tree trunk: PDB
oil on oak panel
unframed: 35.6 x 31.1 cm.; 14 x 12¼ in.
framed: 45 x 40 cm.; 17¾ x 15¾ in.
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The panel is uncradled, flat and stable. The paint surface is clean and the varnish is clear and even. There are no major damages visible to the naked eye. Inspection under ultraviolet light reveals small retouchings in the sky along the vertical grain of the wood, and some other scattered retouchings in the foreground and figures. In overall very good condition.
The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot provided by Sotheby's. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colours and shades which are different to the lot's actual colour and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation because Sotheby's is not a professional conservator or restorer but rather the condition report is a statement of opinion genuinely held by Sotheby's. For that reason, Sotheby's condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot.
Anonymous sale, London, Christie's, 19 November 1920, lot 53, to Knoedler;
Private collection, Holland, 1934;
Dr. H.P. Bremmer, The Hague, 1956;
F.C. Butôt, Sankt Gilgen, Austria;
Anonymous sale, Amsterdam, Sotheby's Mak van Waay, 22 April 1980, lot 10, when acquired.
Amsterdam, P. de Boer, De helsche en de fluweelen Brueghel en hun invloed op de kunst in de Nederlanden, 10 February – 26 March 1934, no. 101;
Oelde, Rathaus, Niederländische Originalgemälde der Zeitgenossen Rembrandt Harmesz. van Rijn, 30 November – 17 December 1983;
Rotterdam, Kunsthal, At Home in the Golden Age, 9 February – 18 May 2008, cat. no. 54.
The SØR Rusche Collection has been exhibited extensively over the last two decades. Please click here for further information.
J. Briels, Vlaamse schilders in de Noordelijke Nederlanden in het begin van de Gouden Eeuw 1585-1630, Haarlem 1987, p. 140, reproduced in colour fig. 163;
W. Pijbes, M. Aarts, M. J. Bok et al., At Home in the Golden Age, exh. cat., Zwolle 2008, p. 72 cat. no. 54, reproduced in colour;
H.-J. Raupp (ed.), Niederländische Malerei des. 17. Jahrhunderts der SØR Rusche-Sammlung, vol. 4, Historien und Allegorien, Münster/Hamburg/London 2010, pp. 58–62, cat. no. 3, reproduced in colour.
‘The blind leading the blind’ is a metaphor that is believed to originate in the Upanishads - ancient Sanskrit texts dating back to 800 BC that contain some of the central precepts of Hinduism and Buddhism. The idiom has been echoed in philosophical and religious writings ever since, including Matthew 15:14: ‘And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.’ It is this Biblical verse that Pieter Bruegel the Elder brought to life in perhaps the most famous visual depiction of the phrase - the distemper on canvas painting, dated 1568, today in the Museo di Capodimonte, Naples. It seems highly probable that this work was known to De Bloot, who has translated the different characterisations and diagonal composition of Bruegel’s painting into his own distinctive artistic vocabulary.
De Bloot was born to Flemish parents, but lived his whole life in Rotterdam. Nevertheless he was heavily influenced by Flemish painting, particularly that of David Teniers the Younger, and is best known for his depictions of genre subjects.