Circle of Sir Peter Paul Rubens (Siegen 1577-1640 Antwerp)
Property from the Collection of Dr. Jerome D. Oremland
Circle of Peter Paul Rubens (Siegen 1577-1640 Antwerp)

Soldiers fighting around a table; and Men and women dining at a round table (after the Petrarch Master)

Circle of Peter Paul Rubens (Siegen 1577-1640 Antwerp)
Soldiers fighting around a table; and Men and women dining at a round table (after the Petrarch Master)
pen and brown ink, brown wash (i); pen and brown ink, brown and grey wash (ii)
5 1/8 x 6 7/8 in. (13.2 x 17.4 cm.)
P.-J. Mariette (L. 1852), his mount and attribution 'J. BURGHMAIR INVEN./ P.P. RUBENS DELIN.'.
Count Moriz von Fries (L. 2903).
Private collector, Switzerland.
Anonymous sale; Sotheby's, Amsterdam, 18 November 1985, lot 35, where acquired by the late owner.
M. Jaffe, Rubens and Italy, Oxford, 1977, p. 104, no. 6 (as Rubens).
M. Jaffe, 'Exhibitions for the Rubens Year-1', The Burlington Magazine, CIXX, no. 894, September 1977, p. 628 (as Rubens).
A.-M. Logan, 'Rubens exhibitions 1977', Master Drawings, XV, no. 4, 1977, pp. 411-12.
A. Sérullaz, Rubens, ses maîtres, ses élèves: dessins du musée du Louvre, exh. cat., Paris, 1978, p. 74, under no. 71.
K. Lohse Belkin, Rubens. Copies and adaptations from Renaissance and later artists. German and Netherlandish artists, London and Turnhout, 2009 (Corpus rubenianum Ludwig Burchard, part XXVI), I, nos. R24-R25
London, British Museum, Rubens. Drawings and Sketches, 1977 (catalogue by John Rowlands), nos. 1a and b, ill.

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Lot Essay

Pierre-Jean Mariette (1694-1774), the first recorded owner of these drawings, as well as of four others at the Louvre and one at the Musée Bonnat, Bayonne (Lohse Belkin, op. cit., I, nos. 77-81), proposed that they were the work of Rubens after woodcuts by Hans Burgkmair (1473-1531). All seven drawings indeed copy illustrations taken from the 1532 German edition of Petrarch’s De remediis utriusque fortunae, published in Augsburg under the title Von der Artzney bayder Glück. Attributed to Burgkmair in Mariette’s day, the woodcuts are now given to another hand known as the Petrarch Master, sometimes identified with Hans Weiditz (1495-1537). The woodcut illustrations upon which the present drawings are based can be found in the first volume of the book, fol. F ii recto and D iii recto, respectively. Rubens copied the first of these prints in a drawing now at the Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum, Rotterdam (Lohse Belkin, op. cit., I, no. 74, II, fig. 199).

Mariette’s attribution to Rubens went unchallenged until 1959 when Julius Held suggested that they could be ‘early attempts’ of Antoine Sallaert (1580-1650) (Rubens. Selected drawings, London 1959, I, p. 54, nt 1). There are indeed similarities with this artist’s drawings and prints in hatching and rendering of faces (see for instance his etching, Hollstein 1), but usually Sallaert’s style is heavier and more mannered. The style of Jan Boeckhorst (1604-1668), to whom Anne-Marie Logan proposed to attribute the drawings (‘Jan Boeckhorst als Zeichner’, in Jan Boeckhorst, 1604-1668. Maler der Rubenszeit, exh. cat., Antwerp, Rubenshuis, and Münster, Westfälisches Landesmuseum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte Münster, 1990, p. 121), is more fluent, and this attribution has recently been rejected (M. Galen, Johann Boeckhorst, Gemälde und Zeichnungen, Hamburg, 2012, p. 462, under nos. AZ 38-AZ 41). For now, the author of these spirited and refined copies must remain unknown, but there can be little doubt he was a Fleming familiar with Rubens’s youthful habit of copying German prints.

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