26 January 2012
Abraham Bloemaert (Gorinchem 1566-1651 Utrecht)
Moses striking the rock
signed and dated 'ABloemaert 1647' (lower right)
black chalk, pen and brown ink, oil on panel
6 3/8 x 9 in. (16.2 x 23 cm.)
with Brian Koester, Ltd., London.
with Gooden and Fox Ltd., London, where acquired by Christian B. Peper, 1964.
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M. Roethlisberger, Abraham Bloemaert and his sons: paintings and prints, Doornspijk, 1993, I, pp. 351-352, no. 564, II, fig. 753.
Saint Louis, The Saint Louis Art Museum, A Gentleman Collects, 25 October 2002-5 January 2003.
These small monochromatic panels by Abraham Bloemaert display the artist's skillful ease as a painter and draftsman. In a letter dated 22 April 1968 to Dr. Peper, Marcel Roethlisberger writes that the works 'are fine examples of a type not frequently found in Bloemaert's oeuvre, half-way between painting and drawing'. The pictures combine the two modes of working, as they consist of a chalk drawing over a yellowish ground, with brown oil paint, white heightening, and brown ink creating further tonal contrast and definition. Restricting himself to a limited palette and a small scale, Bloemaert nevertheless created dynamic multi-figured scenes representing key moments from the Old and New Testament. Dated 1647, they are among the artist's last dated works created when he was more than eighty years old, thus serving as a testament to the longevity of his prodigious career.
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