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Circle of Maerten van Heemskerck (1498–1574)

Circle of Maerten van Heemskerck (1498–1574)

Circle of Maerten van Heemskerck (Heemskerk 1498 – 1574 Haarlem)

Study Sheet with Classical Sculptures

Pen and brown ink, traces of red chalk, 208 x 285 mm (8.2 x 11.2 inch)

Numbered ‘3’ (pen and brown ink, lower right)

Provenance
Professor Johan Quirijn van Regteren Altena, Amsterdam (1899–1980), until sold by his descendants in 2015 (his collector’s mark applied on the mount)

Literature
- C. Hülsen, ‘Unbekannte römische Zeichnungen von Marten van Heemskerck’, Mededeelingen van het Nederlandsch Historisch Instituut te Rome, VII, 1927, pp. 92-94, plate 13 (as Maarten van Heemskerck)
- C. Brown, ‘Review: Kabinet van Tekeningen’, Burlington Magazine, CXIX, no. 888, March 1977, p. 217

Exhibited
- Hoe Hollandse Teekenaars Rome zagen 1500-1840, Amsterdam (Koninklijk Oudheidkundig Genootschap) 1940 (no catalogue published)
- I. Oud, M. Jonker and M. Schapelhouman, In de ban van Italië: tekeningen uit een Amsterdamse verzameling, Amsterdam (Amsterdams Historisch Museum) 1995, p. 27, cat. no. 3, repr. (as circle of Heemskerck)

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In May 1532 Maerten van Heemskerck departed Haarlem for a study journey to Rome, where he diligently sketched remains of the Classical past for the next four to five years. He drew antiquities, statues, reliefs and architectural ruins. Heemskerck brought this visual repertoire back to Haarlem with him. They came in the possession of the painter Cornelis van Haarlem, in whose will of 1638 they are mentioned; later they were owned by Pieter Saenredam. Most of the surviving Heemskerck drawings from his Roman period are now preserved in two albums in Berlin,1 while various loose sheets are in other collections, including the Rijksprentenkabinet, Amsterdam, the Uffizi, Florence, the Kunsthalle, Hamburg, and the Fondation Custudia, Paris.2

Although this sheet was published as an autograph work by Heemskerck by Hülsen in 1927, recently Peter Schatborn has suggested it is more likely that it is based on a lost work by Heemskerck. Heemskerck’s Roman sketchbooks include drawings by draughtsmen from his circle, such as ‘Anonymus A’ and ‘Anonymus B’, sometimes identified with Herman Posthumus (c.1512/13–in or after 1566) and Michiel Gast (c.1515–after 1577).3

This sheet was studied and published in depth in 1927 by Christian Hülsen (1858–1935), who identified most of the Classical sculptures depicted.4 The two draped torsos at the left are based on Antique copies after the Caryatids of the Erechteion on the Acropolis in Athens, possibly those in the collection of Ferdinando de’ Medici, who sold them in 1584, or those in the Villa of Hadrian in Tivoli. The central figure of Ceres in chiton and mantle is probably copied after the sculpture currently in the Glyptothek in Munich. The torso at the right appears to belong to the goddess Virtus, personification of strength and courage. The torso at lower right of Pallas Athena with Aegis was in the Farnese collection, and is now preserved in Naples. The foot with the sandal with child’s head, depicted in three positions, is similar to that in a sculpture of Bacchus in the Ludovisi collection.

This large sheet can for instance be compared to Heemskerck’s Copies after Classical Sculptures from the Roman Sketchbooks, preserved in Berlin (see fig.).5

SOLD TO A PRIVATE COLLECTOR, FRANCE

1. Berlin, Staatliche Museen, Kupferstichkabinett, inv. no. 79 D 2, 3.

2. See C. Hülsen and H. Egger, Die römische Skizzenbücher von Marten van Heemskerck, Berlin 1913-16, vol. I, p. 42 and vol. II, p. 54;  C. Hülsen, ‘Unbekannte römische Zeichnungen von Marten van Heemskerck’, Mededeelingen van het Nederlandsch Historisch Instituut te Rome, VII, 1927, p. 83ff; and M.M.L. Netto-Bol, The so-called Maarten de Vos sketchbook of drawings after the Antique, The Hague 1976, p. 11, note 22.

3. Netto-Bol, op. cit., p. 11, note 21; K.G. Boon, ‘Two Drawings by Herman Postma from his Roman Period’, Master Drawings, 29, 1991, pp. 173-80; I.M. Veldman, ‘Heemskercks Romeinse tekeningen en Anonymus B’, Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek, 38 (1987), pp. 369-82.

4. Hülsen, op. cit., pp. 92-94, plate 13. Further identification of the sculptures depicted in this sheet were made by I. Oud, M. Jonker and M. Schapelhouman, In de ban van Italië: tekeningen uit een Amsterdamse verzameling, Amsterdam (Amsterdams Historisch Museum) 1995, cat. no. 3.

5. Pen and brown ink, 134 x 210 mm; Berlin, Staatliche Museen, Kupferstichkabinett, inv. no. 79 D2, fol. 52 recto.

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Circle of Maerten van Heemskerck (1498–1574)
Circle of Maerten van Heemskerck (1498–1574)
Circle of Maerten van Heemskerck (1498–1574)
Circle of Maerten van Heemskerck (1498–1574)
Circle of Maerten van Heemskerck (1498–1574)
Circle of Maerten van Heemskerck (1498–1574)
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