Abraham van Diepenbeeck (1596–1675)

Abraham van Diepenbeeck (1596–1675)

Abraham van Diepenbeeck (’s-Hertogenbosch 1596 – 1675 Antwerp)

The Madonna Presenting Saint Dominic with the Rosary

Red chalk, grey wash, squared in black chalk, 134 x 79 mm (5.3 x 3.1 inch); mounted on Achille Ryhiner-Delon’s collector’s mount with framing lines in brown ink, gold leaf and green wash, 276 x 219 mm (10.9 x 8.6 inch)

The mount annotated ‘A. Diepenbeck’ (pen and brown ink, recto, and pencil, verso); and numbered ‘1084’ (pen and brown ink)

- Achille Ryhiner-Delon (1731–1788), Basle (Lugt 3004b); on his characteristic decorative mount, with inscription ‘Portefeuille No 54 Dessein No 30’ (verso)
- Private collection, Germany


Abraham van Diepenbeeck was born in 1596 in ’s-Hertogenbosch, where he was trained as a glass-painter in the studio of his father, Jan Roelofsz. van Diepenbeeck.1 From 1621 he was active in Antwerp, painting church windows. One year after his arrival in Flanders he became a master glass-painter in the Guild of St Luke. Only after 1630 Diepenbeeck also began to paint and draw, and he 1638 he enrolled as a master painter. His paintings display the strong stylistic and compositional influence of Peter Paul Rubens, the leading painter in Antwerp at the time.

Diepenbeeck is mostly known for his drawings and engravings. Most of his designs for prints were commissioned by the Antwerp publishers Van Meurs and Moretus, but he also printed individual engravings on his own account. He also made designs for tapestries.

This assured drawing shows the Virgin presenting St Dominic with the Rosary. St Dominic was the founder of the Dominican Order, one of the most influential monastic groups of the later Middle Ages. Dominicans have been instrumental in spreading the rosary and emphasizing the Catholic belief in the power of the rosary. A drawing by Diepenbeeck of related iconography is preserved in the British Museum, London: The Virgin Presenting the Rosary to St Dominic with St Thomas Aquinas Kneeling (see last fig.).3 As our drawing is squared to transfer the composition to a larger size, it is likely to be a design for a painting rather than an engraving, as designs for prints were usually incized rather than squared.

Diepenbeeck’s drawings were much praised for their ‘génie facile’ in the eighteenth century, and some were sold at prices comparable to those commanded by Rubens’s drawings. The appreciation of great early collectors is illustrated by the fact that the present drawing is preserved on its eighteenth-century montage of the Swiss collector Achille Ryhiner-Delon (1731–1788).4

EUR 2450

1. For the artist, see David W. Steadman, Abraham van Diepenbeeck: seventeenth-century Flemish painter, Ann Arbor 1982 and H. Vlieghe, '"De peintures très exquises": Abraham van Diepenbeecks schilderwerk te Parijs', Wallraf-Richartz-Jahrbuch 55 (1994), pp. 269-86.

2. For Diepenbeeck’s drawings, see for instance: Josine Eikelenboom-Smits, Abraham van Diepenbeeck’s drawings in the Stanford Museum: a study in iconography, Stanford 1986.

3. Pen and brown ink, brown wash, 243 x 336 mm; inv. no. 1964,0613.7.

4. See also Lugt 2164 and 3004b and D. Burckhardt, ‘Die Baslerischen Kunstsammler des 18. Jahrhunderts’, Basler Kunstverein. Berichterstattung über das Jahr 1901, Basle 1902, p. 42.

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Abraham van Diepenbeeck (1596–1675)
Abraham van Diepenbeeck (1596–1675)
Abraham van Diepenbeeck (1596–1675)
Abraham van Diepenbeeck (1596–1675)
Abraham van Diepenbeeck (1596–1675)
Abraham van Diepenbeeck (1596–1675)
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