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Jan de Bray (Haarlem 1627-1697 Amsterdam)
Jan de Bray (Haarlem 1627-1697 Amsterdam)

Design for a musical emblem: A chamber orchestra performing within an architectural surround, accompanied by putti, Apollo and the Muses

Details
Jan de Bray (Haarlem 1627-1697 Amsterdam) Design for a musical emblem: A chamber orchestra performing within an architectural surround, accompanied by putti, Apollo and the Muses signed and dated 'JdBraij. [the first three letters interlaced]/ 1652.' and further dated '1652/ 7/18 Wasser[?]' (in black lead, verso) black chalk, pen and brown ink, grey wash, brown ink framing lines 11 1/8 x 7 ¾ in. (28.3 x 19.7 cm.)
Provenance
with Van Hoorn, Amsterdam; from whom purchased by I.Q. van Regteren Altena on 24 December 1928 for 10 guilders (Inventory book: '608. t. de Bray muziekgezelschap').
Literature
J.W. von Moltke, 'Jan de Bray', Marburger Jahrbuch für Kunstwissenschaft, XI-XII, 1939, p. 241, no. Z.200, pl. 78.
W. Bernt, Die Niederländischen Zeichner des 17. Jahrhunderts, Munich, 1957, I, no. 117.
Exhibited
The Hague, Gemeentemuseum, Nederlandsch muziekleven, 1936, no. 720, pl. facing p. VIII (catalogue by D.J. Balfoort and H.E. van Gelder).
Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Paris, Fondation Custodia, and Brussels, Bibliothèque Albert 1er, Le Cabinet d’un Amateur: Dessins flamands et hollandais des XVIe et XVIIe siècles d’une collection privée d’Amsterdam, 1976-77, no. 28, pl. 84 (catalogue by J. Giltaij).

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Lot Essay

The function of this charming drawing remains unknown. Representing a musical company in an architectural surround, supported by putti and surmounted by statues of Apollo and the Muses Euterpe, Thalia and Terpsichore, it may be a design for a standard, or perhaps a study for the frontispiece of a membership book for a music society. The latter seems unlikely, however, as such societies at this date were informal gatherings without official membership lists. Perhaps the drawing was simply executed as a gift for friends of the artist. The combination of instruments shown is typical for ensembles of the period and the double-headed lute played by the lady on the left is characteristic of Holland and England at this date, although de Bray’s representation of the strings is rather odd: he shows them tapering to a point at the base of the soundboard, rather than being secured by a wide band.

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