Pieter Casteels I (active 1630-1645)
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Studio of Sir Peter Paul Rubens (Siegen, Westphalia 1577-1640 Antwerp)

The Virgin supporting the Christ Child on a parapet

Details
Studio of Sir Peter Paul Rubens (Siegen, Westphalia 1577-1640 Antwerp)
The Virgin supporting the Christ Child on a parapet
The reverse of the panel bears a red painted monogram 'R' surmounted by a crown.
oil on panel
41½ x 26 5/8 in. (105.4 x 67.6 cm.)
Provenance
Reputedly from the collection of the Duke of Cumberland, Hanover, that is Ernst August (1771 - 1851) or his grandson Ernst August (1845 - 1923).
B. Hausmann, Hanover/Braunschweig.
Oberbaurath B. Hausmann; sale, Schrader, Hanover, 23 November 1873.
Mrs. Estella Katzenellenbogen.
Anonymous sale; Sotheby's, London, 12 December 1979, lot 61, as 'Rubens' (unsold).
with Alex Wengraf, London, 1980.
with Baroni, Florence.
Anonymous sale; Christie's, New York, January 1991, lot 73, as 'Attributed to Rubens'.
Literature
Walter Heil, Two Flemish Masterpieces of the 17th Century, The Pacific Review, 1941, pp. 13-15, as 'Rubens'.
J.A.Goris and J.S. Held, Rubens in America, 1947, no. S43, as not by Rubens.
M. Jaffé, 'Rubens's Le Christ Paille reconsidered', Apollo, 1972, 95, pp. 107-114, as 'Rubens'.
M. Jaffé, Rubens Catalogo Completo, 1989, no. 383, as 'Rubens'.
J. Richard Judson, Corpus Rubenianum Ludwig Burchand, VI, The Passion of Christ, under no. 65, copy 6.
Exhibited
San Francisco, M. H. De Young Memorial Museum, 1941, on long term loan from Mrs. Estella Katzenellenbogen, as 'Rubens'.
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum, Loan exhibition of forty-three paintings by Rubens and twenty-five Paintings by Van Dyck, 1946, no. 17, as 'Rubens'.
Schauffhausen, Museum zu Allerheiligen, Meisterweke Flämische Malerei, 1955. no. 90a., as 'Rubens'.
Mexico, Museo Nacional San Carlos, Rubens y su siglo, 1998-99, no. 2.
Ferrara, Palazzo dei Diamante, Rubens e il suo secolo, 1999.
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Clemency Henty
Clemency Henty

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Lot Essay

This is a repetition, with slight variations, of the inner face of the left wing of a triptych by Rubens now in the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp. That work had been commissioned by the widow of Jan Michielsen, a wealthy Antwerp merchant, soon after her husband's death on 20 June 1617.
The most detailed discussion of the present picture is by Michael Jaffé (op. cit, 1972) who argued it was a 'masterly version' of a Virgin and Child in the National Collection of Fine Arts, Washington, which, he in turn claimed, was also Rubens's 'contemporary modification for private devotion' of the left hand wing of the Michielsen funerary triptych. Interestingly, infra-red photography of the Washington picture shows that it originally followed the composition of the Antwerp work in the placement of the Virgin's right hand. Jaffé's thesis regarding the autograph status of the present work and the Washington picture has been rejected by J. Richard Judson in his Corpus Rubenianum Ludwig Burchard volume of The Passion of Christ under no. 65, where both are listed as copies, 6 and 7.
An x-radiograph taken at the Courtauld Institute in 1972, which was published by Jaffé (his figs. 10 and 11), show that the support of the present picture was first used in a horizontal format: turned to the right and on its side, a reclining river god, on smaller scale, shows up in the bottom left hand corner. The pose is reminiscent - but not the same - as the deity to the right in Rubens's far earlier Judgment of Paris in the National Gallery.

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