As pointed out by P.J.J. van Thiel, op.cit., p.361, the present lot is a late work by Pietersz., to be dated to circa 1606. Characteristic are the bright colours with the broad sharp folds in the drapery, also evident in Continence of Scipio of circa 1601 (present whereabouts unknown; Van Thiel,op.cit.,p.358,fig.5) and in the Saint John the Baptist preaching in the wilderness of 1606 (Rijksmuseum Het Catherijneconvent, Utrecht on loan from the Amsterdams Historisch Museum, Amsterdam; Van Thiel, op.cit., p.359, fig.6) As also observed by P.J.J. van Thiel, loc.cit.) Matthew on the far left is engaged in writing the first lines of his sixth chapter, while Mark in the foreground looking over his shoulder is only writing the first lines of his first chapter. On the far right is Saint John looking up to the dove, while Saint Luke is depicted in the centre in the background. A drawing of Saint Luke, signed and dated 1606, showing the same facial expression as Matthew in the present lot, is in the Rijksprentenkabinet, Amsterdam (Van Thiel, op.cit.,p.360, fig.8, where dated circa 1606). In the expressive faces of the other Evangelists, the artist was indebted to Cornelis Cornelisz. of Haarlem. See for example, The Raising of Lazarus (collection of the Marquess of Hertford, Ragley Hall, Alcester, Great Britain; P.J.J. van Thiel, Cornelis Cornelisz. van Haarlem, 1999,no.60, pl.XXII) and The Choice between Young and Age (present whereabouts unknown; Van Thiel, op.cit., 1999, no.219, fig.141).
The painter and etcher Gerrit Pietersz. erroneously called Sweelinck because of his brother the composer, was born in Amsterdam in 1566. Nothing is known about his youth and the few facts we do know indicate that he was first the pupil of Jacob Lenartsz. and between 1587 and 1589 of Cornelis Cornelisz. of Haarlem. He later worked as an independent master in Amsterdam, before a stay in Antwerp of a year. Around 1595 he travelled to Rome, working there until 1599. Eventually he returned to Amsterdam where he remained until his death. Pieter Lastman, the later teacher of Rembrandt, was his pupil between 1600/1601 and 1603. His earliest known work Noah's flood, Landesmuseum, Oldenburg, dates from 1592 and shows his indebtness to Cornelis Cornelisz. of Haarlem. Pietersz. was a true Mannerist, his figures have elongated limbs and the emphasis rests on their contorted muscular bodies. Neither Antwerp nor Rome seems to have made a lasting impression on Pietersz. since he seems to have relied on Cornelis Cornelisz. adapting his by that time more classical style, after his return to Amsterdam.