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Jan van Scorel (Schoorl 1495-1562 Utrecht)
Jan van Scorel (Schoorl 1495-1562 Utrecht)

Saint Helena discovering the Cross

Jan van Scorel (Schoorl 1495-1562 Utrecht)
Saint Helena discovering the Cross
pen and black ink, grey wash, brown ink framing lines
8 5/8 x 11 7/8 in. (21.7 x 30.2 cm.)
M. Elte, The Hague; from whom purchased by I.Q. van Regteren Altena on 28 October 1929 for 60 guilders (Inventory book: '776. t. J.v. Scorel kruisdraging').
K. Steinbart, 'Unveröffentlichte Zeichnungen und Holzschnitte des Jan van Scorel', Oud Holland, XLIX, 1932, pp. 285-86, pl. 5.
G.J. Hoogewerff, De Noord-Nederlandsche schilderkunst, The Hague, 1941-42, IV, pp. 149-150, pl. 69.
K.G. Boon, 'Tekeningen van en naar Scorel', Oud Holland, LXX, 1955, pp. 217-218.
M. Faries, 'Underdrawings in the workshop production of Jan van Scorel: A study with infrared reflectography', Nederlands kunsthistorisch jaarboek, XXVI, 1975, pp. 160, 185, pl.43.
C. White, 'Review: Le Cabinet d'un Amateur', Master Drawings, XVI, 1978, p. 64.
C. Lucassen-Macert, 'Eine Zeichnung aus dem Atelier von Jan van Scorel, und einige andere in Breda neugefundene Zeichnungen', Oud Holland, no. 99, 1985, pp. 24, 204, note 36.
H. Bevers, in Niederländische Zeichnungen des 16. Jahrhunderts in der Staatlichen Graphischen Sammlung München, exhib. cat., Munich, Staatliche Graphische Sammlung, 1990-91, pp. 76-7, under no. 61.
Utrecht, Centraal Museum, Jan Scorel, 1955, no. 99, pl. 111.
Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Paris, Fondation Custodia, and Brussels, Bibliothèque Albert 1er, Le Cabinet d'un Amateur: Dessins flamands et hollandais des XVIe et XVIIe siècles d'une collection privée d'Amsterdam, 1976-77, no. 123, pl. 4 (catalogue by J. Giltaij).
Utrecht, Centraal Museum and Douai, Musée de la Chartreuse, Jan van Scorel d'Utrecht. Retables et tableaux de son atelier vers 1540, 1977, no. 47, illustrated.
Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, Kunst voor de beeldenstorm. Noordnederlandse kunst 1525-1580, 1986, I, pp. 165 and 166 fig. 102, II, no. 112 (catalogue entry by M. Faries).
Utrecht, Centraal Museum, Scorels Roem. Hoe een Utrechtse schilder de Renaissance naar het Noorden bracht, 2009, no. 49.

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Benjamin Peronnet
Benjamin Peronnet

Lot Essay

This is a first compositional idea for the central panel of The Invention of the True Cross triptych in the Grote Kerk, Breda, executed circa 1535 (Fig. 1). There are important differences between the painting and the drawing. The latter, probably made at an early stage in the development of the composition, seems to combine the two episodes of The Finding and The Recognition of the True Cross, but Scorel went on to depict these on two separate panels in
the Breda altarpiece. Some parts of the drawing, like the group of the two men seen from the back and holding the Cross on the left, are actually closer to figures in the right panel of the altarpiece which
shows The Recognition of the True Cross, than to their counterparts in The Finding of the True Cross painted on the central panel. In the altarpiece itself the figures appear more monumental, filling more of the space than on this sheet, while the influence of the Italian
artists of the Renaissance is more pronounced.

The present sheet executed in van Scorels preferred medium of black ink and grey wash shows many features often found in other drawings by the artist such as the emphasized eyebrows and the elongated hands and feet. It is particularly close to Saint Paul on the Aeropagus in front of the Altar to the unknown God, in the Fondation Custodia, Paris, a drawing generally dated to circa 1540 (exhib. cat. Kunst voor de beeldenstorm..., op. cit., no. 111).

Fig. 1. Jan van Scorel, The Triptych of the Invention of the True Cross, Breda, Grote Kerk.

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