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    Sale 5431

    Old Master & British Pictures

    11 July 2008, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 3

    Attributed to Hendrick van Cleve III (Antwerp c.1525-1590/1595)

    The Tower of Babel

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    Attributed to Hendrick van Cleve III (Antwerp c.1525-1590/1595)
    The Tower of Babel
    oil on panel
    19¾ x 28 1/8 in. (50.2 x 71.4 cm.)


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    The story of the tower of Babel, taken from Genesis (XI:1-9), provided a rich source of subject matter for several late 16th and early 17th Century Flemish painters, following in the long-standing tradition of portrayals of the subject in 15th and 16th Century prints and illuminated manuscripts. The subject recounts how the people of Babel decided to build 'a city and a tower, with its top in the heavens', appointing Nimrod, 'the mighty warrior before the Lord', to oversee its construction. Until the late 15th Century, the Tower was traditionally depicted as a relatively low building, almost always square in construction. Hendrick van Cleve, along with the Brueghels and Lucas van Valckenborch, was among the first to depict round Towers, sometimes spiralled (as in the present work), the foreground crowded with numerous small figures and animals.

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