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31

Paul Bril

Italian landscape with hill-top town and herdsmen

Property from the Juli and Andrew Wieg Collection, Amsterdam

Paul Bril

Paul Bril

Italian landscape with hill-top town and herdsmen

Italian landscape with hill-top town and herdsmen

Property from the Juli and Andrew Wieg Collection, Amsterdam

Paul Bril

Breda 1553/4 - 1626 Rome

Italian landscape with hill-top town and herdsmen


Brush and grey wash over black chalk, with indications of lunette in top corners

178 by 255 mm; 7 by 10 in

Overall condition good and strong. Window mounted. Small repaired hole and brown stain, behind cattle, left of centre. Slight thin spot, centre left edge. A little surface dirt, but sheet and media otherwise good and fresh.


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.

NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.

Lord Powerscourt;
sale, London, Sotheby's, 22 November 1974, lot 92;
with Baskett and Day, London;
with Paul Drey Gallery, New York;
sale, Amsterdam, Sotheby's, 15 November 1995, lot 22 (as Dutch School, 17th Century)
L. Wood Ruby, Paul Bril, The Drawings, Belgium (Brepols) 1999, pp. 21, 31, 109, no. 76, p. 238 pl. 84 (as probably an unused design for a fresco in the Palazzo Pallavicini-Rospigliosi, circa 1613);
idem, 'Before the Frescoes: the Drawings,' in C. Hendriks, Northern Landscapes on Roman Walls. The Frescoes of Matthijs and Paul Bril, Florence 2003, pp. 82-3, fig. 51

As Louisa Wood Ruby has pointed out, this rare and beautiful drawing is one of a small group of six sheets by Bril that can be linked with his important series of frescoes, painted in 1611-13 for Cardinal Borghese in the Sala della Pergola of the Casino del Patriarca Biondo and Casino dell'Aurora of his palace on the Quirinal, now the Palazzo Pallavicini-Rospigliosi. Other drawings in this group, now in Paris, Munich and Dresden, clearly served as direct studies for the frescoes, but although this sheet cannot be connected compositionally with any of the executed paintings, the very distinctive drawing style and general compositional format leave little doubt that the drawing was also made in connection with this project. The frescoes, which reflect, in their simple naturalism, Annibale Carracci's Aldobrandini lunettes of 1603-5, are an important landmark both in Bril's career and in the story of landscape painting in early 17th-century Rome. Three of the surviving studies for the project are in the Louvre, and the others are in Dresden and Munich.1In sharp contrast to the majority of Bril's earlier, and typically Mannerist, pen and ink landscape drawings, these studies for the Palazzo Pallavicini-Rospigliosi frescoes are executed in a particularly free technique, with broad gray washes applied over a rapid sketch in black chalk in a way that is a remarkable anticipation of the Roman landscape drawings that Claude Lorrain would start to produce nearly a decade later. Both in frescoes and in drawings, Paul Bril and his sadly short-lived brother Matthijs (who died suddenly in 1583 at the age of only 33) were responsible for many of the most important developments in the landscape art produced in Rome over the period of nearly half a century, between their arrival in the Eternal City in the early 1570s and Claude's rise to pre-eminence.


1. Wood Ruby, op. cit., 1999, cats. 71-75