A Dutch museum features a fascinating painting of the art of painting itself, in the guise of a woman artist at the easel. The museum ignores overwhelming evidence for its origins in a collaboration between Jan Brueghel I and Frans Francken II and wrongheadedly gives it to Jan Brueghel II.
“Lady Pictura painting flowers,” Tableau 15 (1993), nr. 6, Summer, pp. 66-81
The editors of this art magazine asked me to write about a newly discovered, exceptional kunstkamer painting. The deadline was short, but I plunged into it, telling them that I would not be able to go in search of those paintings within the painting that could not easily be identified. Fortunately, my lapses in this regard were corrected in the following issue by Edwin Buijsen.
Lady Pictura painting flowers – the painting. (A press photo from the Noordbrabants Museum, in connection with an exhibition on the Brueghel family. Credit line, with a different attribution and dating than mine: Jan Brueghel de Jonge, Allegorie op de schilderkunst, ca. 1625-1630, olieverf op koper, 49 x 77 cm. JK Art Foundation. Foto Peter Cox).
Comparative images that are illustrated across two pages in the magazine:
Jan Brueghel I and Peter Paul Rubens, Allegory of sight, 1617. Madrid, Museo del Prado
Click on the images to enlarge and view the delicious details.
See also Schwartzlist 408, “The Sephardi iconophile in me”
Schwartzlist 424, “The transparent connoisseur 8: an ill-judged attribution in Den Bosch”
On 1 July I will be lecturing (in Dutch) at the Hermitage Museum Amsterdam on a painting from the current exhibition, Rembrandt and his contemporaries: History paintings from The Leiden Collection. The painting is a depiction of the prophet Elisha declining to accept the gifts of the Syrian army commander Naaman, offered in thanks for curing his leprosy. Here is a preview, the part about leprosy. Seating still available.
On Monday, 8 May, in Berlin, Schwartz heard a top connoisseur account for differences in finish between two paintings by Hugo van der Goes as acceptable variations within a single artistic personality, and on 12 May, in Den Bosch, heard another top connoisseur denying the very possibility of such a thing concerning two paintings by Jheronimus Bosch. What a week!
Translation: Increase or decrease [the number of paintings by Vermeer, whose name is baked into the Dutch word for increasing.] My oldest and dearest friend in the Netherlands, Albert Blankert, died last Tuesday. I am channeling and seconding his inspired take on a current Vermeer dispute.
Do you feel kin to people who lived in your house in the past? Schwartz indulges in the exercise, finding out that he is the successor to members of an intertwined Sephardi clan of jewelers and merchants in diamonds and pearls, members of which were Rembrandt’s next-door neighbors, while another commissioned a staggering Antwerp painting he has studied.
An exploration of the riches of beauty and meaning invested in and taken from art by Guillam van Haecht and his patron Cornelis van der Geest. Published in the Dutch art magazine Tableau, the summer issue of 1996, pp. 43-52.
Did Vermeer’s Kitchen maid, an icon of Dutchness, have an older, Italian sister? Schwartz finds her resemblance to an earlier, unjustifiedly doubted, Vermeer copy after an Italian painting of a saint so convincing that he sticks his neck out to argue that she does.
Earlier this year, the Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad asked me for an interview in which I would reveal, in order from 10 to 1, what my favorite ten Rembrandt self-portraits are. Instead of talking to the editor, Arjen Ribbens, I wrote up my preferences in an illustrated column, in English. I put them in chronological order, but that worked out all right, because my number 1 was indeed the latest. Ribbens translated a pared-down version, made it look more like an interview and published it in the issue of 6 November 2021. For the Schwartzlist, here is the English original.
Gabriel Metsu’s Sick child in the Rijksmuseum is the poster boy of domesticism in Dutch art. What could be more touching? Schwartz thinks it was also meant to move the viewer in other ways than as an image of maternal care. He thinks he can identify the pathetic little boy as a personification of a high office leading an ailing existence. Continue reading “397 Gabriel Metsu’s Sick child – of state?”