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JACOB JORDAENS (ANTWERP 1593-1678)
JACOB JORDAENS (ANTWERP 1593-1678)
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PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE COLLECTOR, FRANCE
JACOB JORDAENS (ANTWERP 1593-1678)

Head of a bearded man, possibly an apostle

Details
JACOB JORDAENS (ANTWERP 1593-1678)
Head of a bearded man, possibly an apostle
oil on canvas
21 ¼ x 18 7/8 in. (54 x 48 cm.)

Brought to you by

Francois de Poortere
Francois de Poortere International Director, Head of Department

Lot Essay

This rediscovered and hitherto unpublished work, along with the following lot, is a rare surviving example of Jordaens’ early period and can likely be dated to circa 1620 or slightly earlier, comparable to his other youthful works from this time, such as his Job in the Detroit Institute of Arts (inv. no. 43.418). No doubt painted from life, such spontaneous, rapidly executed pictures, classified somewhere between informal studies and finished paintings, portrayed members of Jordaens’ own circle and provided the artist with an essential cast of real-life characters from which he drew for larger multi-figural groups.

Jordaens here observes the two bearded men in different states of quiet contemplation. With one swathed in a blue cloak and the other in red, he paints their visibly weathered faces and hands with raw realism, using quick, short brushstrokes to build up the flesh tones from light to dark. These complement the broader gestures of bold and expressive brushwork, showing the same spontaneity and self-assurance with which Jordaens would later treat his Four Evangelists of circa 1625 (Musée du Louvre, Paris).

Although not directly related to any known compositions, both works may have belonged to a series of apostles together with Jordaens’ portrayal of Saint Andrew (sold Sotheby’s, New York, 27 January 2011, lot 120, $278,500), as attested to by their shared dimensions, scale and comparable execution. Indeed, this figure in the red cloak appears to be the same model as that of Saint Andrew, showing from a different angle the same beard, hair and crooked nose, and may have also been used for the figure with a lantern in Jordaens' Adoration of the Shepherds of circa 1617 (Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, inv. no. 60.094). The present picture was also clearly known by Jordaens’ assistants and followers, as attested to by a copy in which he features among other figure studies (The Schorr Collection, UK).

At around the same time as the Rhode Island Adoration, Jordaens appears to have also employed the model of the present figure in blue for Saint Joseph in his Holy Family of circa 1617-18 (Saint Gilles Town Hall, Brussels), which he treated in two further panels, now held in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (dated to the early 1620s and revised in the 1650s) and in the Alte Pinakothek, Munich (of circa 1620-25).

Please note this and the following lot have been consigned in partnership with the auction house Marambat-Malafosse in Toulouse.

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