National Gallery of Canada / Musée des beaux-arts du Canada

Bulletin 13, 1969

Annual Index
Author & Subject

Reflections on the Jordaens Exhibition

by Michael Jaffe

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Items Exhibited

107 The spread of the crimson canopy, with a scalloped and tasselled edge, and the mesh of figures crowding the shallow space are signs of a late recrudescence of interest in the art of Abraham Janssens. The drawing formerly in the A. G. B. Russell collection, now at Mount Holyoke College, was lent hors catalogue. For discussion, see h. c. B. (fig. 16) below.

108 As Professor Seymour Slive has suggested to me, the
possibility cannot be excluded that, in painting this allegory, Jordaens had an eye to a commission for the Amsterdam Town Hall. (24)

111 Add to PROV.: Sale, London (Christie's), 5 December 1969, No. 100, unsold.

112 Commentary, line 1: after Louvre (No.1402) insert [fig. XVIII]. The Hague canvas appears to have been cut at the right.

115 Reference should have been made to Antwerp / Rotterdam 1966-67, No. 117, illustrating the Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians I, 22-24. That Hermitage drawing, dated 27 martii 1658, also shows Moses striking water from the Rock (Exodus XVII, 6), together with the apparition of Christ the Redeemer and Instrument of Salvation. As Mr. M. J. McCarthy has pointed out to me, the Kassel painting in its revised form enriches the subject in a comparable way. Jordaens, in making the additions at top and bottom, emphasizes the rainbow seen in the cloud as the token of God's concern for the life of His creatures, according to Genesis IX, 12-15: " And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you for perpetual generations: I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh." This apparition is paralleled successively in Ezekiel I, 26-28 and in Revelation IV, 3. The association of Christ with the gift and protection of plenty on earth was regarded by Calvinists as prophetic of the new age they hoped to bring about. When Jordaens added to the original canvas, and enriched both the composition and the meaning of the whole, it is perhaps curious that only one figure in the crowd of Israelites, one of the two men mounted on camels, was made to gaze directly at the apparition of Christ. The obvious precedent in painting for the iconography of Jordaens's revised subject is Tintoretto's picture of 1577 in the Scuola di San Rocco (H. Tietze, Tintoretto, London, 1948, fig. 187). While it is not necessary to assume that Jordaens knew this design, he could well have done so through some copy made by Rubens in Venice. Tintoretto's composition was characteristically made fuller of dramatic movement and illumination; and he showed the bow as a full and perfect circle in the cloud.

117 Physical description: for light brown paper read two pieces of paper. 

E. Greindl, Les peintres flamands de nature morte au XVIIe siècle, Brussels, 1956, p. 56, pl. IV, published in her discussion of still-life drawings attributed to Snyders a sheet of "Dessins d'étude" at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris (collection Drouet, No. 35.611, verso). The right half of this sheet of studies in pen and ink, relating to Brussels Museum No. 1007, corresponds very closely to the arrangement of the elements of still-life in the Darmstadt drawing: the roe-deer hung from a hook by its hind leg, flanked by a lobster on a platter, an artichoke and a bunch of asparagus at the left, and by a basket piled with grapes at the right. The technique - even the style - appears similar in both drawings. However, Snyders himself would hardly have re-drawn the Paris study (if that be indeed by him) in order that some other hand might add four human figures, the dog, the boar's head, etc. (25) And comparisons with No. 116 and No. 137, already suggested in the catalogue, show that these six figures can only have been drawn by Jordaens c. 1615 (the contrast with figures presumed to have been drawn by Snyders in relation to still-life is well shown on the left half of the Paris sheet, where an old man with a roe-deer slung across his back, followed by a woman with a pannier of edibles on her head, is studied much as he appears in the picture in the National Gallery in Prague (Inv. No. DO 5682, signed F. Snijders fecit). Furthermore, as Dr. Myron Laskin has pointed out to me, the head of the younger man corresponds closely both in type and in pose (evidently studied from the same model) to that of Meleager in the original part of No. 114. The quality of the still-life drawnon the Darmstadt sheet is too high for Snyders's apprentices, Melchior Weldenck and Henri Joris, or indeed for any ordinary copyist. It seems most satisfactory to sustain the view expressed in the catalogue entry that the Darmstadt sheet is the work of Jordaens throughout. (26)
122 Add to LIT.: M. Jaffé "Rubens as a draughtsman," Burl M, CVII, July 1965, p. 372. 

This appears to be the earliest publication of the group of drawings at Düsseldorf as Jordaens. (27) Similar studies from the same model, belonging to the Hessisches Landesmuseum in Darmstadt, are all five illustrated here for the first time (figs. 5-9). 

In catalogue entry: for AE 539 read Hz 4669, black and white chalks, 530 x 295 mm., 20 7/8 x 11 5/8 in. 

Yet another academy nude studied by Jordaens from the same bearded model as appears in the Düsseldorf and Darmstadt drawings is Hind, No. 27, pl. IV (as ".study for Neptune," by Rubens). This very large and fine example (fig. 10) may have passed directly to Lankrink from Jordaens or his estate. It has been otherwise overlooked since it came to the British Museum with the Cracherode collection. A rather similar study may be presumed to have been used by Jordaens for the figure seated at the left of No. 15 ; and comparison may also be made with the seated figure in his ALLEGORY OF WAR AND PEACE, which was last sighted in 1931 at the Van Diemen Gallery in Berlin (d'Hulst 1956, p. 43, fig.. 12). Both these paintings are c. 1617.
127 / 128 The "framing" by Jordaens of these two composition studies (a habit at this period?) with broad bands of brown wash should have been noted.

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