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Hendrick van Limborch (The Hague 1681-1759)
Hendrick van Limborch (The Hague 1681-1759)

The Golden Age

Hendrick van Limborch (The Hague 1681-1759)
The Golden Age
oil on panel
24 x 33¼ in. (61 x 84.4 cm.)
The artist's sale (†), The Hague, 17 September 1759, lot 3, as one of a set with lots 1, 2, and 4, bought after sale by the following,
Cornelis van Rykevorsel; his sale (†), Rietmulder, The Hague, 9 April 1778, lot 16, where offered as one of a set of four with lots 13, 14, and 15.
Anonymous sale; Christie's, New York, 26 May 2000, lot 27.
G. Jansen, 'Notitie der dagelijxe schilderoeffening', Bulletin van het Rijksmuseum, XXXXV, 1997, pp. 65-6, no. 244.

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Lot Essay

This picture is one of a series of four works by the artist, the other three subjects being Diana and Actaeon, The Judgement of Paris, and Apollo and the Muses (or Parnassus). All four pictures were painted on panel of equal size and made from a single piece of wood, as stated in the 1759 and 1778 sales. The Judgement of Paris and Parnassus are now in the Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest (inv. nos. 253 and 256 respectively), while the Diana and Actaeon remains untraced.

This subject depicts one of the four Ages of Man as described in Ovid's Metamorphoses - the Golden, Silver, Bronze and Iron Age. Of these, the first was an earthly paradise, but each successive age brought increasing misery for mankind. Helpfully, the artist kept a notebook on his paintings, which lists two pictures representing The Golden Age, one of which, painted in 1731-32 (G. Jansen, op. cit.), is explicitly described as the companion of a Parnassus (ibid., no. 236). The Golden Age is the only mythological subject which we can be certain van Limborch painted only twice; his other depiction of it, on canvas, is now in the Louvre, Paris (inv. no. 2446).

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