Gustaf Adolf Sparre (1746-1794);
Sparre inv. 1794, p. 118, no. 49.
Göthe, 1895, p. 15, no. 15, as Flemish, circa 1600;
I. Jost, "Hendrick van Balen d. Ä. Versuch einer Chronologie der Werke aus den ersten zwei Jahrzehnten des siebzehnten Jahrhunderts unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der Kabinettbilder", in Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek, vol. 14, 1963, p. 117, reproduced fig. 14 (as datable circa 1605 and 1608);
Hasselgren, 1974, p. 118, reproduced p. 169;
B. Werche, Hendrick van Balen (1575-1632). Een Antwerpener Kabinettbildmaler der Rubenszeit, Turnhout 2004, vol. 1, p. 141, no. A 17, reproduced vol. 2, p. 326 (as whereabouts unknown, and as datable circa 1610).
This picture is on an expensive copper support made by the principal manufacturer of copper plates in Antwerp, Peeter Stas, whose stamp can be found on the reverse (see fig. 1). On the evidence of numerous Stas copper plates that also bear their date of manufacture, Stas' stamp seems to have changed almost every year until 1610. By comparison with dated stamps, backed up by data from stamped coppers supporting dated paintings, the present copper plate can be dated to as early as 1603-4, and probably before 1606, thus providing a possible terminus post quem for this painting.1
Ingrid Jost dated this picture circa 1605-8, but Bettina Werche puts it later, circa 1610 or slightly after.2 In view of the evidence from the Stas copper, the earlier dating is more likely. Not many of Van Balen's cabinet pictures are dated, but on the evidence of three works on copper that are all dated 1608: Werche nos. A 75, A 109 & A 110; and a work on canvas dated 1602: Werche no. A 107, a dating in the middle of the first decade of the 17th century seems plausible. The style of the landscape, probably by another hand close to Jan Brueghel the Elder, would also support a dating before 1610.
Göthe catalogued it as 'Flemish, circa 1600', but recorded an earlier attribution to Jan Brueghel, while Gerson (cited by Hasselgren) attributed it to Hendrick van Balen or Johann Rottenhammer.
1. See J. Wadum, in Copper as Canvas, exhibition catalogue, New York/ Oxford 1999, p.104, esp. figs. 5.10-5.12.
2. See under Literature.
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