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.
"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.
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 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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