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

73 The additions appear to have been made in the early 1650s.

74 A pentimento shows that the crimson curtain almost filled the upper left corner. It glows through the darkish blue-grey architecture and the head of the acolyte.

75 Strips of canvas were added by Jordaens (13 cm., 5 1/8 in. at left; 30 cm., 11 13/16 in. at right) in the early 1650s, cf. his additions to the panel of No. 73, and painted in the style of the Skokloster Pàinting dated 1652 [No. 105]. These additions mean that he worked on this Louisville picture both before and after the Vienna picture [No. 86] of the same subject, which is all from 1645. The priest in dull red was originally the terminal figure at the left. The youth bearing faggots and the dog are added. The dog's muzzle and the youth's forehead, along with the tip of his nose, spread onto the original field. Repainting by Jordaens extends as far right as the left-hand capital of the arch which is topped by a balustrade. At the right, the remains of a crimson curtain are visible in the niche and on the pillar by Barnabas. There are pentimenti also showing that Paul's left forearm and hand clasping his garment were originally much lower. The five figures behind the apostles are additions of the early 1650s, and the faun perched on the archway is evidently a last-minute thought. The total effect of these changes is not only to broaden an almost square field of design, but also to change the effect of the crowd curving towards Paul and Barnabas from the archway in the background, to that of a bas-relief concentrated nearer to the fore-plane. See M. Jaffé, Bulletin of the J. B. Speed Art Museum (Louisville, Kentucky), XXVII, No. 2, May 1970.

81 Jordaens used the right-hand study for the figure of Amphitrite in No. 200 (see below under that number). The painting was cleaned in Florence only just in time for the exhibition. (23)

85 A pentimento of a head is visible through the door and doorway, slightly above and to the left of the head of the old woman.

89 Recently purchased by the Springfield Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, Massachusetts.
91 The composition of the Pushkin Museum painting [fig. xxv] has been extended by a vertical strip of canvas seamed on at the right beyond the donkey's rump. Technical examination is awaited to determine whether there have been additions to the top or bottom. The angel looking back at the Holy Family, and the elegantly mannered gesture of his pointing left arm, besides the general disposition of the figures, reflect Jordaens's admiration for Jacopo Bassano's handling of the theme in the painting (canvas, 119.4 x 198.1 cm., 47 x 78 in.) formerly at Prinknash Abbey, Gloucestershire, which was sold at Christie's, London, 5 December 1969, No. 112, and bought by Mr. Norton J. Simon. The version of the Jordaens composition recorded with Weitzner in 1934 was sold by him to the Long Island Episcopal Seminary.

92 Now in a private collection, West Germany.

94 Mr. M. J. McCarthy has solved the iconographic problem by identifying the subject as "Moses and Zipporah," which would fit the description given in the Vandergucht sale (1788). Jordaens evidently had two Old Testament texts in mind. Exodus II, 21 gives, " And Moses was content to dwell with the man; and he gave Moses Zipporah his daughter." Then Numbers XII, I gives," And Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman." Here Jordaens, in an effort to be textually correct, decided to show the wife of Moses as a negress. Zipporah means "little bird"; and the placing of her right hand in the Rubenshuis painting - so Mr. McCarthy proposes - may be intended to suggest that she is fondling a bird at her breast. It is indeed not quite clear how her hand relates to her drapery, if nothing more than drapery was intended.

95 After removal of the thin strip of canvas along the top, in the process of cleaning and relining, the measurements are 118.3 x 106 cm., 46 5/8 x 41 3/4 in. Cleaning revealed this painting, hitherto classed at Warsaw as a schoolwork, to be an autograph by Jordaens.

96 See No. 213 below.

98 A pentimento shows that the buttocks of the central figure were originally placed lower. 

100 / 101 / 102. As K. Frcmantlc, The Baroque Town Hall of Amsterdam, Utrecht, 1959, pp. 140-141, repr. pls. 152-153, points out, Huyghens almost certainly referred to Gevartius's Pompa Introitus Ferdinandi with plates engraved by van Thulden from Rubens's designs. Jordaens, of course, knew this publication of 1642, as well as THE TRIUMPHAL ENTRY OF HENRY IV INTO PARIS.

104 Add to PROV.: Sale, Paris (Palais Galliera), 20 June 1961, No.76*. This modello now belongs to Mr. John Goelet, New York.

105 Professor T. Heinrich, Toronto, called my attention to a drawing (fig. 3) in his collection (ex M. Grey, C. 1950). This is a studio copy after a missing Jordaens study of a young man crouched over a stool, with a clay pipe in his right hand. Jordaens introduced the figure in this pose, but wearing a hat (and omitting the hand and sleeve of another figure which rests on the head and shoulder of the kneeling man), at a crucial stage between the British Museum drawing [No. 245] and the Skokloster painting, in order to knit the composition together more effectively.

106 In the Gemeentemuseen, Amsterdam [No. 103], as "school van J. Jordaens", acquired from Mensing Sale, Amsterdam (Fr. Muller), 27-29 April 1937, is a drawing (fig. 4), inscribed Jordaens, in ink. This is evidently a copy either of a Jordaens group portrait of this character and period, or of some preparation for one. Prof. Dr. H. L. Co Jaffé kindly brought the Amsterdam drawing to my attention.

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