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Hans Bol

The Good Samaritan

Hans Bol

Hans Bol

The Good Samaritan

The Good Samaritan

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Hans Bol

Mechelen 1534 - 1593 Amsterdam

The Good Samaritan


Gouache, heightened with gold, on vellum laid on panel;

signed and dated in gold, lower right: HBol 1583

bears old attribution, dating and numbering on the panel, versoHBol 1595 (?) and No 29

and an old inventory number on a label: 269

137 by 196 mm; 5⅜ by 7⅝ in.

A sheet of vellum has been laid down to an old panel backing. The borders of the sheet are covered by a black border which, judging by its age, is likely to be original. There are some tiny losses of gouache in small areas of the work, such as the upper left corner and some minor craquelure to the gouache in areas of the sky. The work remains in otherwise very good condition. Sold in a modern faux tortoiseshell 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.

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.

Private collection, Belgium
Brussels, Société Générale de Banque, Dessins du XVe au XVIIIe Siècle dans les collections privées de Belgique, 1983, no. 16

See note to the previous lot.


As Stefaan Hautekeete has described in his illuminating article on the artist’s working methods,1 Hans Bol frequently based his finished gouaches on studies executed in pen and ink or silverpoint, which do not necessarily correspond precisely to the composition of the finished gouache, and rarely include any of the final staffage. In this case, the preliminary study, in silverpoint, is in the British Museum.2


Dr. Hautekeete has kindly informed us that as far as he knows, Bol represented the theme of The Good Samaritan no fewer than nine times, making it one of his favourite subjects. It has been speculated that this may be the result of his personal experiences during the invasion of Mechelen by Spanish troops in 1572, when, according to the often rather imaginative biographer Karel van Mander, Bol fled to Antwerp, leaving behind everything he owned, and was taken in there by a man named Antoon Couvreur. 


The other works by the artist representing this subject include a gouache in the P. & N. de Boer Foundation, pen and ink drawings in Zürich (1567), Rotterdam (1580) and Konstanz (1584), and various prints after designs by Bol. 


We are most grateful to Stefaan Hautekeete for his kind help while cataloguing this lot. 


1. S. Hautekeete, ‘New Insights into the Working Methods of Hans Bol,’ Master Drawings, vol. 50, no. 3 (Autumn 2012), pp. 329-356

2. London, British Museum, inv. no. 1895,0915.1038