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Adrian van Stalbemt (Antwerp 1580-1622)
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Adrian van Stalbemt (Antwerp 1580-1622)

The Feast of Achelous

Details
Adrian van Stalbemt (Antwerp 1580-1622)
The Feast of Achelous
oil on panel
21 1/8 x 34½ in. (53.5 x 88 cm.)
Special Notice

No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.
Sale Room Notice
Please note the additional provenance:
Anon. Sale, Bukowski, Sweden, September 1933, lot 291, as 'Hendrick van Balen', when acquired by the father of the present owner.

Lot Essay

The composition resembles that of the eponymous work by Rubens and Jan Brueghel I in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (see W.A. Liedtke, Flemish Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1984, I, pp. 194-8; II, pl. XIV, figs. 74-5). As Liedtke shows, Rubens chose a dramatic moment in Ovid's account of the banquet given by the river god Achelous for Theseus and his companions. In the present picture, the emphasis is placed on the end of the story (which Rubens had also included), when 'lo, a nymph.... one of the attendants with locks flowing free, appeared and served them from her bottomless horn with all the fruits of Autumn' (Ovid, Metamorphoses; IX: 89-92). The presence of Mercury has yet to be explained; but the Triumph of Amphitrite in the background may refer to the role of Neptune in transforming Perimele - who had been beloved by Achelous - into an island.

For the attribution to Stalbemt, compare the figures in The Triumph of David of 1619 in the Prado (see M. Díaz Pádron, Museo del Prado, Catálogo de Pinturas I. Escuole Flamence, 1975, p. 382, no. 1782). Closely similar, too, is the Banquet of the Gods at Dresden, which is signed and dated 1622 (see K. Andrews, 'A Pseudo Elsheimer Group: Andriaen van Stalbemt as a Figure Painter', The Burlington Magazine, 1973, p. 302, fig. 49). The rocks and landscape are painted in the style of Joos de Momper, while the flowers, fish and metalwork could be the work of Jan Brueghel II.
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