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Dutch museum purchases painting featuring angry goddess

May 9, 2018

Bartholomeus Breenbergh
DEVENTER 1598 – 1657 AMSTERDAM
WOODED LANDSCAPE WITH LATONA AND THE LYCIAN PEASANTS
signed and indistinctly dated lower left: BBreenberch f. / 163(?)0 (BB in ligature)
oil on canvas: 25 1/4 by 45 1/2 in.; 64.1 by 115.6 cm.
Click on image to enlarge.

The Deventer Museum De Waag in the Netherlands has recently bought a landscape painting by Bartholomeus Breenbergh. The painting was featured in the Sotheby’s Old Master Painting sale in New York, February 2, 2018.  It carried a pre-sale estimate of $40,000-60,000, but went unsold.  Presumably, the museum purchased the picture after that sale. According to CODART: “Wooded Landscape with Latona and The Lycian Peasants, signed and dated 1630, is the second painting of the Deventer artist in the collection of the museum and only the third in a Dutch collection. The painting depicts a scene from Ovid’s Metamorphoses and will be the centerpiece in an exhibition  dedicated to the artist in 2020.”
 The Rijksmuseum owns a painting of the same subject by Jan Brueghel the Elder. Their website describes the scene depicted in this way: “No one insults a goddess and remains unpunished. Tired and parched, Latona, the mother of Apollo and Diana, halts to quench her thirst at a pond. Some peasants working nearby, however, prevent her from doing so. Latona curses them by changing them into frogs and condemning them to spend eternity in the mire. Two peasants already have a frog’s head.”

Detail. Click on image to enlarge.
Bartholomeus Breenbergh
DEVENTER 1598 – 1657 AMSTERDAM
WOODED LANDSCAPE WITH LATONA AND THE LYCIAN PEASANTS
signed and indistinctly dated lower left: BBreenberch f. / 163(?)0 (BB in ligature)
oil on canvas: 25 1/4 by 45 1/2 in.; 64.1 by 115.6 cm.

A biography of the artist from the Getty:
Bartholomeus Breenbergh was probably first apprenticed in Amsterdam, but it was his years in Italy that were decisive. At about age twenty, Breenbergh went to Rome, where he lived with Flemish landscapist Paul Brill and was influenced by the intimate, deeply poetic landscapes of German expatriate Adam Elsheimer. Breenbergh belonged to the first generation of Dutch Italianates, artists who traveled to Italy in the 1620s and were inspired by its light and atmosphere. With Cornelis van Poelenburgh, whose early style is very similar, Breenbergh helped to bring the Italianate tradition of landscape to the Low Countries, reflecting a fascination on the part of northern European artists with Italian landscapes rather than with the local topography.
In Holland by 1633, Breenbergh specialized in scenes including Roman ruins, based on his drawings of Italy. In the 1630s he began introducing biblical and mythological figures and his compositions became larger and more ambitious. Breenbergh often painted Old Testament themes, but he placed the scenes themselves far in his landscape’s background. His expressive figure types reveal affinities with those of Pieter Lastman. After 1645 he turned from landscape to narrative scenes and later painted portraits as well. By 1652 his productivity had dropped significantly; he may have become a merchant.
2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 9, 2018 12:11 PM

    I simply want to say how much I enjoy your blogs. There is nothing else quite like them. They are smart about both the art and the art market. My only complaint is that I wish that they were more frequent. Bravo.

    • May 9, 2018 1:03 PM

      Dear Mr. Gioia:

      Thank you very much, this is a most unexpected and very welcome email.

      With best wishes,

      Nord Wennerstrom

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