ATTRIBUTED TO JAN BREUGHEL THE ELDER (BRUSSELS 1568-1625 ANTWERP)
ATTRIBUTED TO JAN BREUGHEL THE ELDER (BRUSSELS 1568-1625 ANTWERP)
ATTRIBUTED TO JAN BREUGHEL THE ELDER (BRUSSELS 1568-1625 ANTWERP)
ATTRIBUTED TO JAN BREUGHEL THE ELDER (BRUSSELS 1568-1625 ANTWERP)
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Please note that at our discretion some lots may b… Read more
ATTRIBUTED TO JAN BREUGHEL THE ELDER (BRUSSELS 1568-1625 ANTWERP)

The Last Judgment

Details
ATTRIBUTED TO JAN BREUGHEL THE ELDER (BRUSSELS 1568-1625 ANTWERP)
The Last Judgment
oil on copper, unframed
10 3⁄4 x 14 1⁄2 in. (27.4 x 36.5 cm.)
with the panel maker's mark of Pieter Staas (centre, to the reverse)
Provenance
Alfred Julien, Angers, 1898.
Private collection, Loire Valley.
Special notice

Please note that at our discretion some lots may be moved immediately after the sale to our storage facility at Momart Logistics Warehouse: Units 9-12, E10 Enterprise Park, Argall Way, Leyton, London E10 7DQ. At King Street lots are available for collection on any weekday, 9.00 am to 4.30 pm. Collection from Momart is strictly by appointment only. We advise that you inform the sale administrator at least 48 hours in advance of collection so that they can arrange with Momart. However, if you need to contact Momart directly: Tel: +44 (0)20 7426 3000 email: pcandauctionteam@momart.co.uk.
This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.
Sale room notice
Please note that this lot will be stored at Christie's King Street offices, not at Momart as originally stated in the catalogue.

Brought to you by

Clementine Sinclair
Clementine Sinclair Specialist, Head of Evening Sale

Lot Essay

Jan Breughel the Elder executed his hellish landscapes and nocturnal fire scenes in the period circa 1594-1608. First conceived of during his stay in Rome of 1592-94, these compositions displayed a great debt to the fantastical imaginings of Hieronymus Bosch, but Breughel skilfully adapted the monsters of his predecessor, incorporating the sinuous elegance of late Mannerism as part of a new pictorial language that spoke to the taste for the wonderous and strange shared by the aristocratic and clerical elites of the day.
The wealth of detail in the present painting brings to life the gospel of Matthew, chapter 25, verses 31-46: 'When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another’. At upper centre, Jesus sits flanked by His Mother and John the Baptist, whilst angels carrying the symbols of the Passion encircle Him. To the left of the composition, the righteous are carried aloft by attending angels, whilst to the right the damned are tortured by the devil and his minions. Though clearly influenced by Pieter Bruegel’s version of the Last Judgement, drawn in 1558 and published as a print by Hieronymus Cock (fig. 1), this painting has a swirling, centrifugal energy that owes as much to later Italian explorations of the gospel, none less so than Michelangelo’s masterpiece. However, where the Italian approach to the subject was almost unfailingly executed on an enormous scale, the genius of Jan Breughel was to condense it down to tiny proportions without losing any of the verve or detail.
This Last Judgement can be compared to two other versions of the composition by Jan Breughel the Elder, the first signed and dated 1601 (Private collection), the second unsigned (Copenhagen, Statens Museum for Kunst, inv. no. KMSsp180; see K. Etrz and C. Nitze Etze, Jan Brueghel der Ältere (1568-1625): kritischer Katalog der Gemälde, Lingen, 2008, pp. 661-663, no. 322). Taking the signed Judgement into consideration, it is likely that the present painting dates to circa 1601-1605, as the mark of Pieter Staas on the reverse of the copper sheet dates to before 1606 (at which point the original mark began to be encircled). Interestingly, the tangled group at centre left in the present painting, of a winged devil dragging a body into a pile of people topped by the corpse of a woman, has been borrowed from an earlier work by Jan Breughel of 1600, Anaeas and Sibyl in the Underworld (Budapest Szépmuvészeti Múzeum, inv. no. 553).
Dr Klaus Ertz has confirmed the attribution to Jan Breughel the Elder in full after first hand inspection of the painting, his certificate accompanies this lot.

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