Reflections on the Jordaens ExhibitionHome
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131 Since the exhibition, Mr. John Brealey has completed the cleaning and the slight restoration necessary of M.
Franz Muheim's superb modello
for an ADORATION OF THE SHEPHERDS
(fig. II), a night piece revealed now as one of the most inventive
and moving of all Rubens's sketches on religious themes. It had
been partially over-painted, particularly at the right in order to
mask the trimming from the panel (as fig. 10 here shows by
comparison with the H. Witdoeck engraving [fig. IX]) of the bearded
old man, of an but the head of the old woman, and of the archway
through which they enter the stable. The provenance of the modello
in the Muheim family can be traced since Henri-Frédéric, Comte de
Diesbach-Torny (1818-67). Probably it had been acquired by
François-Pierre-Frédéric, Comte de Diesbach-Torny (1739-1811),
during the period 1755-65 when he was Louis XV's Ambassadorat The
1886-92, No. 152, records engravings by H. Witdoeck,
S. à Bolswert, Ragot. Laurie in connection with a "Tableau
inconnu. Composition en largeur." Smith, No. 117, records only
the Bolswert engraving of this composition. There is no satisfactory
evidence that Rubens undertook any larger scale version of this
composition. Its special appeal for Jordaens may have been due to
its redolence of Elsheimer.
131 / 132 Fine vertical breaks in these drawings,
showing spared paper, indicate that leaves removed from sketch-books
have been used. The Witdoeck engraving [see No. 131, line 3] is
illustrated [fig. IX].
132 For Jo S. Spengler read J. Co Spengler. The surface is worn; but the quality of invention and
execution is pure Jordaens. (28)
133 Mr. Garff has kindly given me his opinion that
the digits and lines drawn in pen are most likely to be explained as
the work of Wrn. Panneels.
140 This drawing could not be exhibited. The
Orléans Museum eventually decided against detaching it from the
nineteenth-century album in which it is still kept.
141 The stimulus to undertake this hitherto
extremely rare subject, and in this upright form of composition, may
well have come to Jordaens from his knowledge of the large sheet
engraved in 1596 by J. Saenredam after Goltzius (Hollstein) 355), showing Ceres with a cornucopia, and dressed voluminously in
silks, standing to receive the homage of her rustic worshippers.
There should have been a cross-reference to the almost literal
reappearance of the kneeling woman, with the child on her lap, in
the Kassel MOSES STRIKING WATER FROM THE ROCK
142 The irregular repair along the bottom edge
is likely to be the work of a collector. The edge of the paper used
by Jordaens for his drawing is quite distinctly cut. Not illustrated
in the catalogue (see Editor's Note
to the catalogue entry).
145 The painting, referred to in Brussels 1965,
now belongs to Herr Heinz Kisters, Kreuzlingen. It is illustrated
here for the first time (fig. 12), by his permission. This
masterpiece of the late 1650s was discovered in 1932 by the Munich
painter, Adolf Klingstirn. It has no connection with the Ghent
drawing [fig. XIII]; although there are recollections, in the
configuration of the crowd, of the early masterpiece on this
theme, formerly with Agnew [fig. XII] and recently acquired by the
Cleveland Museum of Art, as well as some nearer ones of CHRIST
DRIVING THE MONEY-CHANGERS FROM THE TEMPLE
[No. 112]. The iconography
of the scene in this late treatment is highly idiosyncratic: Christ
in noble isolation towers over a tumbled confusion of figures, half
of whom display as much nudity as possible, almost as though He were
visiting limbo. Only St. Peter, Malchus, and four others (one being
in armour) have their torsos covered.
146 After the exhibition it was possible to study
and photograph the text of the draft letter on the back of which
Jordaens drew. Scarcely any of his holographs have been
identified; and it would be of notable value could this script be
established as his own. However, the way of writing "g",
"v", and "s", for example, differs too markedly
from that in the quittance written by Jordaens to the Burgomaster of
Rupelmonde, dated 14 October 1642, for any such certainty, even
allowing for a time difference of about a quarter of a century. And
we still know nothing of any call for Jordaens to use what French he
might have had. Nevertheless, a slightly more accurate
transcription can now be published:
Monsr, L'excuse que vous vules pren(dre) / celle que
par M. de C (...) / delle sans me payer n'est pas reccu
Aussy au Temps que nous sommes.../ ne paye pas de parolle Ce que med
(...) / n'estoyt pas de si grande Importance qu(e) / ne me le
pourest payer avandt que p
( ...) / vous en ay fait recompancer par
mes gens.../ jour mesme avandt vostre partement
/ et encore d'autre
foys au paravandt qu.../ m'en a de rien servy pour ce que je
The opportunity to lift the drawing from the mount
revealed a foolscap watermark.
PROV. Prince Charles de Ligne (Vienna
Sale, Vienna (Blumauer), 4 November 1794.
to LIT.: A. Bartsch, Cat. raisonné des desseins originaux ...du cabinet de feu le Prince Charles de
Ligne, Vienna, 1794, pp. 268-269,
No. 7 (Jordaens).
It is noteworthy that Bartsch, in praising this superb
drawing, treats the subject as pure genre. See comment under No. 158 below.
149 Reference should have been made to the
comparative illustration of the Dresden painting [fig. X].
150 The technique of this drawing suggests that
Jordaens had direct knowledge of Titian drawings in this medium,
most likely in Rubens's collection. The marvellously luminous
modelling in the shadows is especially noteworthy.
151 The sheet has evidently been cropped, and the
cropping is especially vexatious at top and bottom. It was
evidently drawn by the same hand and at the same time as No. 150.
It shows the same rhythms, the same power of modelling within
shadows, the same sense of form. Mr. E. Croft-Murray kindly confirms that the inscription Jordaens is probably early
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