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Čís. položky 57


Jan van Kessel I


(Antwerp 1626–1679)
Paradise landscape with the Creation of the Animals,
bears signature and indistinct date: I. V. KESSEL. FECIT. 16..,
oil on copper, 85 x 114 cm, framed

We are grateful to Klaus Ertz for confirming the attribution of the present painting after examination of the original. He dates it into the late 1660s (the photocopy of a written certificate of 9 September 2016 is available).

This lively and detailed representation of the Creation of Animals by Jan van Kessel I belongs to the tradition of the celebrated paradise landscapes of Jan Brueghel I and Jan Brueghel II. Their compositions reflected a growing scientific interest in nature that gradually developed in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century, with publications such as Conrad Gessner’s Historia Animalium (1551–1558) and Ornithologiae by the Italian scholar Ulisse Aldrovandi (1599–1601). These sources grouped various species together according to their natural habitats, and the paintings relied on similar combinations of animals united within a single landscape setting.

In the present painting, the viewer, positioned on a slightly elevated vantage point, looks at a wooded landscape populated by various species of animals throughout the foreground and middle ground. A river extends across the entire picture space. Its banks delineate individual tracts of land, with bays, promontories, and tributaries forming a web of compartments. In the left foreground, there are animals fighting, a boar storming into the picture, two hounds, a brown bear, a leopard, and two combating lions; two porcupines and an aquatic bird complement the animal population in the foreground.

On the right-hand side behind them, separated by a river with large water birds resembling geese, appear a roebuck, a pair of pheasants, guinea pigs, and two penguins. This zone is delimited by a rosebush. A creek populated by swans and heron-like water birds forms a border to the middle ground, which provides the stage for the central scene illustrating the biblical theme: God the Father, surrounded by an aureole, is depicted standing in front of a dense deciduous forest, his hand raised in blessing, surrounded by the numerous animals he is believed to have created in the Christian religion. To his left, there is a fox, a horse, a cow, two reclining camels, an elephant, and a monkey; to his right, a dog, a lynx, a cat, two lamas, and a fantastic animal reminiscent of a camel. Opposite this central scene, on the other side of the river to its left, is a promontory populated by large birds. A hilly wooded landscape is recognisable in the distant background, with a reddish evening sky spreading above, bathing the scene in a soft, mysterious light.

Jan van Kessel I was born in Antwerp in 1626 son to the painter Hieronymus van Kessel and Paschasia Brueghel, a daughter of Jan Brueghel I. At the age of eleven he was apprenticed to the animal painter Simon de Vos and is said to have subsequently studied under his uncle Jan Brueghel II, although there is no documentary proof of this. At the age of nineteen he was admitted to the Guild of Saint Luke in Antwerp, where he was registered as son of a master and painter of flowers. When he married Maria van Apshoven in 1647, his uncle David Teniers II was one of the witnesses. The latter had married Anna Brueghel, his mother’s stepsister, in 1637. Jan van Kessel I had thirteen children; two of his sons followed him as painters: Ferdinand and Jan II. In 1655 he purchased a house, and in 1670 he died in Antwerp. His portrait by Erasmus Quellinus was engraved by Alexander Voet.

Jan van Kessel I was one of the most important members of the renowned Brueghel dynasty of painters and can also be associated with them artistically. In his 2012 catalogue raisonné, Klaus Ertz listed 272 paintings and three oil sketches by him. It was possible to reconstruct large parts of his oeuvre thanks to the fact that van Kessel signed and dated many of his compositions. Naturally, van Kessel’s great model was his grandfather Jan Brueghel I. Although Jan adopted many of the latter’s motifs and forms, he always conceived his compositions autonomously. When it came to insect studies, the artist claimed to be the best mediator of his time between the natural sciences and a contemporary audience. In this genre he was certainly equal to Georg Hoefnagel, who established the discipline of scientific miniature and was a brilliant interpreter creating examples of superior quality in his role as court painter to Rudolf II in Prague. There was also the famous German painter of still lifes, Georg Flegel.

Although Jan van Kessel I, like most painters at that time, relied on models, he was full of ideas and entirely independent as a painter who had made a name for himself in two major painting genres: his insect studies on the one hand and his famous, highly imaginative allegorical paintings on the other – primarily his interpretations of the Four Continents and his views of towns conserved in museums in Munich and Madrid.

The works by Jan van Kessel I stand out for their high aesthetic appeal and are perfectly executed in terms of craftsmanship, also evident in the present painting. The artist’s pictures reflect the encyclopaedic interest translated into painting especially by Flemish painters of the seventeenth century, who produced a great variety of works. According to Ertz, even if a closeness to the artist’s influences can be recognised, the result was always a typical ‘van Kessel’ painting. Klaus Ertz compares the present composition to the artist’s signed Entry of the Animals into Noah’s Ark, sold at Sotheby’s, Monaco, on 29 November 1986 as lot 330 (see K. Ertz/C. Nietze-Ertz, Die Maler Jan van Kessel, Lingen 2012, cat. no. 304) as well as his Paradise Landscape with the Fall of Man, sold at Sotheby’s, London, on 10 July 2008 as lot 133 (see K. Ertz/C. Nietze-Ertz, Ibid., 2012, cat. no. 309). A Paradise Landscape with Orpheus, sold by Koller, Zurich, on 27 March 2009 as lot 3048, is also comparable in terms of composition, colours, and painterly approach (K. Ertz/C. Nietze-Ertz, Ibid., 2012, cat. no. 310). Making reference to the Paradise Landscape with Orpheus sold in Zurich, Ertz points out that the present painting may have been created first, then repeated by the artist as a smaller version on canvas at the patron’s request, making a minor change by substituting the ‘Creation of the Animals’ for the subject of ‘Orpheus’. Repetitions of a successful composition was a common practice in seventeenth-century Flemish painting.

Technical analysis by Gianluca Poldi:

This large copper was painted with great care almost without any modification. The animals are painted over the landscape, without changes except for a correction in the antlers of the left deer. No underdrawing was detected by IR reflectography, meaning that perhaps a very thin drawing or a drawing using a light medium was used.
The palette is particularly interesting, because the painter employs three types of blue pigments: smalt blue, frequently used by Flemish painters of the seventeenth century, in the sky and mountains, azurite in the water and the more precious lapis lazuli in the peacocks on the right and in the blue bird with the vermillion red head in front of God the Father. God’s pink robe and cloak are slightly different mixtures of lead white with carmine-based red lake; in the robe, azurite is added to reach the distinct greyish-bluish hue. The same lake is detected in the roses on the right. The lower sky is a mixture of lead white and lead-based yellow with smalt blue (partially discoloured) and vermillion, with some grain of minium. While the variety of green hues is based on different mixtures of azurite, lead-based yellow and verdigris.

Expert: Mark MacDonnell Mark MacDonnell
+43 1 515 60 403

mark.macdonnell@dorotheum.at

10.11.2020 - 16:00

Dosažená cena: **
EUR 75.300,-
Odhadní cena:
EUR 50.000,- do EUR 70.000,-

Jan van Kessel I


(Antwerp 1626–1679)
Paradise landscape with the Creation of the Animals,
bears signature and indistinct date: I. V. KESSEL. FECIT. 16..,
oil on copper, 85 x 114 cm, framed

We are grateful to Klaus Ertz for confirming the attribution of the present painting after examination of the original. He dates it into the late 1660s (the photocopy of a written certificate of 9 September 2016 is available).

This lively and detailed representation of the Creation of Animals by Jan van Kessel I belongs to the tradition of the celebrated paradise landscapes of Jan Brueghel I and Jan Brueghel II. Their compositions reflected a growing scientific interest in nature that gradually developed in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century, with publications such as Conrad Gessner’s Historia Animalium (1551–1558) and Ornithologiae by the Italian scholar Ulisse Aldrovandi (1599–1601). These sources grouped various species together according to their natural habitats, and the paintings relied on similar combinations of animals united within a single landscape setting.

In the present painting, the viewer, positioned on a slightly elevated vantage point, looks at a wooded landscape populated by various species of animals throughout the foreground and middle ground. A river extends across the entire picture space. Its banks delineate individual tracts of land, with bays, promontories, and tributaries forming a web of compartments. In the left foreground, there are animals fighting, a boar storming into the picture, two hounds, a brown bear, a leopard, and two combating lions; two porcupines and an aquatic bird complement the animal population in the foreground.

On the right-hand side behind them, separated by a river with large water birds resembling geese, appear a roebuck, a pair of pheasants, guinea pigs, and two penguins. This zone is delimited by a rosebush. A creek populated by swans and heron-like water birds forms a border to the middle ground, which provides the stage for the central scene illustrating the biblical theme: God the Father, surrounded by an aureole, is depicted standing in front of a dense deciduous forest, his hand raised in blessing, surrounded by the numerous animals he is believed to have created in the Christian religion. To his left, there is a fox, a horse, a cow, two reclining camels, an elephant, and a monkey; to his right, a dog, a lynx, a cat, two lamas, and a fantastic animal reminiscent of a camel. Opposite this central scene, on the other side of the river to its left, is a promontory populated by large birds. A hilly wooded landscape is recognisable in the distant background, with a reddish evening sky spreading above, bathing the scene in a soft, mysterious light.

Jan van Kessel I was born in Antwerp in 1626 son to the painter Hieronymus van Kessel and Paschasia Brueghel, a daughter of Jan Brueghel I. At the age of eleven he was apprenticed to the animal painter Simon de Vos and is said to have subsequently studied under his uncle Jan Brueghel II, although there is no documentary proof of this. At the age of nineteen he was admitted to the Guild of Saint Luke in Antwerp, where he was registered as son of a master and painter of flowers. When he married Maria van Apshoven in 1647, his uncle David Teniers II was one of the witnesses. The latter had married Anna Brueghel, his mother’s stepsister, in 1637. Jan van Kessel I had thirteen children; two of his sons followed him as painters: Ferdinand and Jan II. In 1655 he purchased a house, and in 1670 he died in Antwerp. His portrait by Erasmus Quellinus was engraved by Alexander Voet.

Jan van Kessel I was one of the most important members of the renowned Brueghel dynasty of painters and can also be associated with them artistically. In his 2012 catalogue raisonné, Klaus Ertz listed 272 paintings and three oil sketches by him. It was possible to reconstruct large parts of his oeuvre thanks to the fact that van Kessel signed and dated many of his compositions. Naturally, van Kessel’s great model was his grandfather Jan Brueghel I. Although Jan adopted many of the latter’s motifs and forms, he always conceived his compositions autonomously. When it came to insect studies, the artist claimed to be the best mediator of his time between the natural sciences and a contemporary audience. In this genre he was certainly equal to Georg Hoefnagel, who established the discipline of scientific miniature and was a brilliant interpreter creating examples of superior quality in his role as court painter to Rudolf II in Prague. There was also the famous German painter of still lifes, Georg Flegel.

Although Jan van Kessel I, like most painters at that time, relied on models, he was full of ideas and entirely independent as a painter who had made a name for himself in two major painting genres: his insect studies on the one hand and his famous, highly imaginative allegorical paintings on the other – primarily his interpretations of the Four Continents and his views of towns conserved in museums in Munich and Madrid.

The works by Jan van Kessel I stand out for their high aesthetic appeal and are perfectly executed in terms of craftsmanship, also evident in the present painting. The artist’s pictures reflect the encyclopaedic interest translated into painting especially by Flemish painters of the seventeenth century, who produced a great variety of works. According to Ertz, even if a closeness to the artist’s influences can be recognised, the result was always a typical ‘van Kessel’ painting. Klaus Ertz compares the present composition to the artist’s signed Entry of the Animals into Noah’s Ark, sold at Sotheby’s, Monaco, on 29 November 1986 as lot 330 (see K. Ertz/C. Nietze-Ertz, Die Maler Jan van Kessel, Lingen 2012, cat. no. 304) as well as his Paradise Landscape with the Fall of Man, sold at Sotheby’s, London, on 10 July 2008 as lot 133 (see K. Ertz/C. Nietze-Ertz, Ibid., 2012, cat. no. 309). A Paradise Landscape with Orpheus, sold by Koller, Zurich, on 27 March 2009 as lot 3048, is also comparable in terms of composition, colours, and painterly approach (K. Ertz/C. Nietze-Ertz, Ibid., 2012, cat. no. 310). Making reference to the Paradise Landscape with Orpheus sold in Zurich, Ertz points out that the present painting may have been created first, then repeated by the artist as a smaller version on canvas at the patron’s request, making a minor change by substituting the ‘Creation of the Animals’ for the subject of ‘Orpheus’. Repetitions of a successful composition was a common practice in seventeenth-century Flemish painting.

Technical analysis by Gianluca Poldi:

This large copper was painted with great care almost without any modification. The animals are painted over the landscape, without changes except for a correction in the antlers of the left deer. No underdrawing was detected by IR reflectography, meaning that perhaps a very thin drawing or a drawing using a light medium was used.
The palette is particularly interesting, because the painter employs three types of blue pigments: smalt blue, frequently used by Flemish painters of the seventeenth century, in the sky and mountains, azurite in the water and the more precious lapis lazuli in the peacocks on the right and in the blue bird with the vermillion red head in front of God the Father. God’s pink robe and cloak are slightly different mixtures of lead white with carmine-based red lake; in the robe, azurite is added to reach the distinct greyish-bluish hue. The same lake is detected in the roses on the right. The lower sky is a mixture of lead white and lead-based yellow with smalt blue (partially discoloured) and vermillion, with some grain of minium. While the variety of green hues is based on different mixtures of azurite, lead-based yellow and verdigris.

Expert: Mark MacDonnell Mark MacDonnell
+43 1 515 60 403

mark.macdonnell@dorotheum.at


Horká linka kupujících Po-Pá: 9.00 - 18.00
old.masters@dorotheum.at

+43 1 515 60 403
Aukce: Obrazy starých mistrů
Datum: 10.11.2020 - 16:00
Místo konání aukce: Vídeň | Palais Dorotheum
Prohlídka: 04.11. - 10.11.2020


** Kupní cena vč. poplatku kupujícího a DPH

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