The Martyrdom of Saint Lawrence, Bartholomeus Breenbergh
Bartholomeus Breenbergh
The Martyrdom of Saint Lawrence
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Bartholomeus Breenbergh

The Martyrdom of Saint Lawrence, 1647

87.4 x 102.5 cm
Physical Description
Oil on canvas
Inventory Number
Acquired in 1817 as a bequest from Johann Georg Grambs
Not on display


About the Work

Like many Dutch artists, Breenbergh was drawn to Italy at an early age; he worked in Rome for several years. The experience left its mark not only on the content, but also on the form of his paintings, even those executed back in Amsterdam from 1633 onwards. A leading Italianist, he depicted the martyrdom of Lawrence against the backdrop of the Eternal City. Trajan’s Column and the Temple of Antoninus Pius serve as reminders of antiquity, while the Castel Sant’Angelo – and above all Michelangelo’s dome of St Peter’s in the background – set the event in the artist’s own time.

About the Acquisition

"Dr. Grambs also owns a collection of paintings, copperplate engravings and drawings by hand which exceeds all expectations. The definitive knowledge of the owner helps the visitor to gain rapid enlightenment and thorough understanding." That was how Goethe described the Frankfurt collection of the lawyer Johann Georg Grambs (1756-1817). It included Netherlandish Baroque artists and contemporary master painters from Frankfurt. Grambs was one of the administrators of the museum appointed by Städel. Like the donor, he, too, bequeathed his art collection to the institute.

Work Data

Basic Information

The Martyrdom of Saint Lawrence
Period Produced
Object Type
Physical Description
Oil on canvas
Label at the Time of Manufacture
Signiert und datiert unten rechts auf einem viereckigen Stein: BBreenberg f. (BB ligiert) / A° 1647

Property and Acquisition

Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
Picture Copyright
Public Domain
Acquired in 1817 as a bequest from Johann Georg Grambs

Work Content


  • 46A7 crowd, mob
  • 25L(ROM) cities represented allegorically or symbolically (ROM)
  • 25I12 prospect of city, town panorama, silhouette of city
  • 61F(SAN PIETRO (Rom)) names of historical buildings, sites, streets, etc. (SAN PIETRO (Rom))
  • 61F(ENGELSBURG (Rom)) names of historical buildings, sites, streets, etc. (ENGELSBURG (Rom))
  • 61F(ENGELSBRÜCKE (Rom)) names of historical buildings, sites, streets, etc. (ENGELSBRÜCKE (Rom))
  • 61F(TRAJANSSÄULE (Rom)) names of historical buildings, sites, streets, etc. (TRAJANSSÄULE (Rom))
  • 25I154 triumphal column with helical friezes
  • 92B57 specific aspects, allegorical aspects of Mercury; Mercury as patron
  • 61D(TEVERE) geographical names of countries, regions, mountains, rivers, etc. (TEVERE) (TEVERE)
  • 25H213 river

Research and Discussion


Object History
Anon. Verst., Amsterdam, 6. Mai 1729 (Nr. 1)
Jacques André Joseph Aved (1702-1766), Paris
Versteigerung Jacques André Joseph Aved, Paris, 24. November 1766 (Nr. 59)
Christian IV. (1722-1775, Pfalzgraf und Herzog von der Pfalz), Zweibrücken
Versteigerung der Sammlung Christian IV., Paris an den Kunsthändler Jean-Baptiste-Pierre Le Brun (1748-1813), Paris, 6. April 1778 (Nr. 22)
Versteigerung Jean-Baptiste-Pierre Le Brun, Paris, 10. Dezember 1778 (Nr. 47)
Armand Frédéric Ernest Nogaret, Paris
Verst. Sammlung Nogaret, Paris an Le Brun, Paris, 2.-5. Juni 1780 (Nr. 28)
Johann Georg Grambs (Städel-Administrator
1756-1817), Frankfurt am Main
Vermächtnis an das Städelsche Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt am Main, 1817.


Since 2001, the Städel Museum has systematically been researching the provenance of all objects that were acquired during the National Socialist period, or that changed owners or could have changed owners during those years. The basis for this research is the “Washington Declaration”, also known as the “Washington Conference Principles”, formulated at the 1998 “Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets” and the subsequent “Joint Declaration”.

The provenance information is based on the sources researched at the time they were published digitally. However, this information can change at any time when new sources are discovered. Provenance research is therefore a continuous process and one that is updated at regular intervals.

Ideally, the provenance information documents an object’s origins from the time it was created until the date when it found its way into the collection. It contains the following details, provided they are known:

  • the type of acquisition and/or the way the object changed hands
  • the owner's name and place of residence
  • the date on which it changed hands

The successive ownership records are separated from each other by a semicolon.

Gaps in the record of a provenance are indicated by the placeholder “…”. Unsupported information is listed in square brackets.

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