JACOB GRIMMER (ANTWERP 1525⁄6-1590) AND GILLIS MOSTAERT THE ELDER (HULST 1528-1598 ANTWERP)
JACOB GRIMMER (ANTWERP 1525⁄6-1590) AND GILLIS MOSTAERT THE ELDER (HULST 1528-1598 ANTWERP)
JACOB GRIMMER (ANTWERP 1525⁄6-1590) AND GILLIS MOSTAERT THE ELDER (HULST 1528-1598 ANTWERP)
2 More
PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN
JACOB GRIMMER (ANTWERP 1525/6-1590) AND GILLIS MOSTAERT THE ELDER (HULST 1528-1598 ANTWERP)

A winter landscape with the Flight into Egypt

Details
JACOB GRIMMER (ANTWERP 1525⁄6-1590) AND GILLIS MOSTAERT THE ELDER (HULST 1528-1598 ANTWERP)
A winter landscape with the Flight into Egypt
oil on canvas, unframed
48 ¾ x 57 ½ in. (123.7 x 146.1 cm.)
Provenance
with French & Co., New York, 1952, as 'Lucas or Maarten van Valckenborch' and with incorrect dimensions.
with Brian Koetser Gallery, London, October 1972, as 'Gillis Mostaert the Elder'.
(Possibly) Sir Thomas Hardy, Berkshire (according to the following sale).
Anonymous sale; Paul Brandt, Amsterdam, 15 May 1979, lot 9, as 'Gillis Mostaert the Elder', where acquired by the grandmother of the present owner.
Literature
R. de Bertier de Sauvigny, Jacob et Abel Grimmer, Brussels, 1991, p. 127, no. 13, illustrated.

Brought to you by

Maja Markovic
Maja Markovic Specialist, Head of Evening Sale

Lot Essay

This painting offers an uninterrupted view that weaves along a snowy road into the mountains beyond. In the middle ground, Mary and Joseph make their way through the snow-covered winter landscape. Slightly incongruously to modern eyes, this is nevertheless the Flight into Egypt. In the sixteenth century, before landscape had become a fully distinct artistic genre, Biblical subjects such as this provided artists with a pretext to indulge in the depiction of elaborate landscape settings. This tradition had its roots in the works of Joachim Patinir and was taken up by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, in works such as his Landscape with the Flight into Egypt, now in the Courtauld Gallery in London (inv. no. P.1978.PG.47) and The Adoration of the Magi in a winter landscape in the Oskar Reinhart Museum 'Am Römerholz' in Winterthur, Switzerland.

Jacob Grimmer, a proponent of the highly sought-after Bruegelian style, adeptly connected the foreground to the middle zone, guiding the beholder’s eye deeper into the varied landscape. In this respect, he continued the traditional scheme of the Weltlandschaft, unifying varied motifs with great ease, skillfully manipulating space, atmosphere, light and shadow. The lively staffage is, however, the work of Gillis Mostaert, who Grimmer regularly engaged to add figures to his landscapes, an early and successful type of collaboration that was to become a feature of Flemish artistic production in the following century.

Both Grimmer and Mostaert hold important positions in the canon of Flemish painting and were already widely collected and highly acclaimed during their lifetimes. Grimmer’s contemporary fame reached well beyond the borders of Flanders; Giorgio Vasari even hailed him as one of the best landscapists of his time. In his 1604 Schilder-Boeck, the Flemish-born Dutch painter and theorist Karel van Mander similarly praised both Grimmer and Mostaert as among the finest artists of their age.

More from Old Masters Part I

View All
View All