Karel van Mander on his Deathbed, Jacques de Gheyn II
Jacques de Gheyn II
Karel van Mander on his Deathbed
DE
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Jacques de Gheyn II

Karel van Mander on his Deathbed, 1606


Blatt
142 x 177 mm
Inventory Number
800
Object Number
800 Z
Status
Not exhibited

Texts

About the Work

Together with Hendrick Goltzius, the Antwerp painter, copper engraver and draughtsman Jacques de Gheyn is the most important Netherlandish draughtsman of the generation before Rembrandt. In addition to his many templates for engravings, he is famous in particular for the accuracy of his nature studies. On the back of this drawing the copper engraver Cornelis Ploos van Amstel, in whose widely illustrious collection the sheet was preserved during the eighteenth century, noted that de Gheyn had portrayed the painter and art writer Karel van Mander (1548-1606) on his deathbed. Van Mander, who was also known as the "Vasari of the North", created the earliest collection of biographies of Netherlandish artists in his 'Schilderboek'. Published in 1604, his art historiography remains a fundamental work to this day. The artist has recorded in two pen-and-ink views the gaunt facial features of the deceased man, making clear the situation with a pillow and a shroud tied at the neck. Somewhat in the manner of a copper engraving, the pen is used to model with parallel lines of different thickness, sensitively creating an impression of skin. A fine pattern of dots on the eyelids and lips in the left-hand study makes it look more like a corpse than the study on the right. The fact that the artist was concerned to record his subject as precisely as possible can be seen in the noticeable unevenness of the outer ears, which he has carefully observed in both views. The traditional belief that this is a deathbed portrait of Karel van Mander is not finally confirmed, but it is supported by the harp, which Jacques de Gheyn subsequently added to the two studies of the head. The instrument, whose realistic appearance is enhanced by the fine grey wash, has been placed in the same way that one would position a crux mortis on the breast of the deceased person. The harp is a reference to Van Mander's literary and poetic activities and could also allude to the collection of hymns he published in 1599 as 'De gulden harpe'.

Work Data

Basic Information

Title
Karel van Mander on his Deathbed
Draughtsman
Period Produced
School
Object Type
Material
Technique
Geographic Reference
Production Reason
Captions Added Later
Verso bezeichnet (von Cornelis Ploos van Amstel, Amsterdam [Lugt 3002], mit der Feder in Braun): Den Overleeden / Karel Vermander / Kunstig Schilder / te Amsterdam / op zijn doodbed leggende / nevens de harp, waar op hij in / zijn Laatste Oogenblik noch / een Psalm gespeeld had./ Jaq. de Gheijn / Fecit.; unten links Trockenstempel der Sammlung Cornelis Ploos van Amstel, Amsterdam (Lugt 2034); Stempel des Städelschen Kunstinstituts, Frankfurt am Main (Lugt 2356)
Watermark
  • Nicht vorhanden
Work Catalogues
  • Regteren Altena 1983.113.693

Property and Acquisition

Institution
Administration
Collection
Picture Copyright
© Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main

Work Content

Motifs and References

Genre
Main Motif
Persons Shown
Associated Medium
  • Karel van Mander, De gulden harpe, 1627

Iconclass

Primary
Secondary

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Last import

23.03.2020