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4.4 Five New Grisailles Discovered

Even more closely related to the series in the drawingbook are five until now anonymous grisailles depicting the youth of Christ, located in Ons' Lieve Heer op Solder (Museum Amstelkring) in Amsterdam: The Visitation [i], The Adoration of the Shepherds [i], The Adoration of the Kings [i], The Circumcision [i] and The Twelve-Year-Old Jesus Among the Doctors [i].1

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Rombout Uylenburgh, The Visitation (Mary and Elisabeth shaking hands), c. 1610

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Rombout Uylenburgh, Adoration of the shepherds, c. 1610

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Rombout Uylenburgh, Adoration of the kings, c. 1610


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Rombout Uylenburgh, Circumcision of the Christ-child, c. 1610

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Rombout Uylenburgh, Christ's dispute with the doctors in the temple, c. 1610


Compare, for instance, the composition and figures of the drawn Adoration of the Shepherds (see above) with the version in Amsterdam and with the Adoration of the Kings of the same series, which shows a comparable beam construction and roof opening in the background. There are also demonstrable similarities between the two Visitations [i], such as the half-open door lost in shadow at the top and the garden wall with square opening and arched niche. The tower in the background recurs in the drawing with Elijah and the Prophets of Baal [i].
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studio of Rombout Uylenburgh, Mary visits Elisabeth (the Visitation), c. 1605-1615

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studio of Rombout Uylenburgh, As Elijah prays, God sends fire which burns up not only his sacrifice but also the altar itself; the people fall prostrate on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18:36-40), c. 1605-1615


In addition, the five panels feature detailed architectural backgrounds much like those in some of the drawings. The compositions of the pendants in the Rembrandthuis are more Classicistic and the figures have easier poses and better proportioned heads. On stylistic grounds they are therefore dated to around 1620, a decade later than the series in Ons' Lieve Heer op Solder. Possibly the latter group occurs in the aforementioned inventory of 1627. They are precisely ‘half the size’ (de helft cleynder) of the panels in the Rembrandthuis and may therefore have belonged to the mentioned series of eight. These considerations make an attribution of this series to Rombout van Uylenburgh convincing. Edwin Buijsen, Head of Collections at the Mauritshuis, drew our attention to an eighth grisaille, which used to be at the Bonnefantenmuseum in Maastricht and has the Parable of the Rich Man and  Poor Lazarus as its subject [i]. Its architecture resembles that of the drawings, including the sheet with the same subject [i] and, even more so, the King David Rebuked by the Prophet Nathan [i]. The divergent figures and a more sketchy technique make an attribution to Rombout himself unconvincing, but the work could be a product of his workshop.

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circle of Rombout Uylenburgh   , The parable of the rich man and the poor Lazarus, c. 1615

circle of Rombout Uylenburgh  
The parable of the rich man and the poor Lazarus c. 1615
oil paint / panel, 35,5 x 45,5 cm
Whereabouts unknown



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studio of Rombout Uylenburgh   , The parable of the rich man and the poor Lazarus, c. 1605-1615

studio of Rombout Uylenburgh  
The parable of the rich man and the poor Lazarus c. 1605-1615
pen in brown ink / paper, 278 x 425 mm
Private collection, no. fol. 21 recto



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studio of Rombout Uylenburgh   , King David rebuked by the prophet Nathan (2 Samuel 12:1-25), c. 1605-1615

studio of Rombout Uylenburgh  
King David rebuked by the prophet Nathan (2 Samuel 12:1-25) c. 1605-1615
pen in black ink / blue washed paper, 278 x 425 mm
Private collection, no. fol. 22 recto




Through our contact with Ons' Lieve Heer op Solder in connection with the present investigation, two of the other anonymous sheets have become linked to a name. On the basis of the style of drawing and of its composition, Robert Schillemans, the museum’s curator, has convincingly attributed the Landscape with a Saint Anne Trinity and Mary with Christ, Saint John the Baptist and his Parents Elizabeth and Zacharias [i] to the painter Lambert Jacobsz. (c. 1598/1599-1636).2

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Lambert Jacobsz   , Mary with Christ, John the Baptist and his parents Elisabeth and Zacharias, c. 1620

Lambert Jacobsz  
Mary with Christ, John the Baptist and his parents Elisabeth and Zacharias c. 1620
pen and brush in brown / paper, 278 x 425 mm
Private collection, no. fol. 29 recto





[1]

Inv.nos. AK 438 a to e. Earlier proposed identifications as early work of Otto van Veen, Jan de Bray or Cornelis Cornelisz. van Haarlem have not proved convincing (communication Robert Schillemans, 2013).

[2]

Written communication based on a photograph, September 2013.

Datum laatste wijziging: Apr 04, 2014 02:46 PM