JOHANN KÖNIG (Nuremberg 1586-1642)
Job on the dung heap with his three friends and other figures in a stormy landscape
signed ‘Jo. Konig’ (lower left)
bodycolor on vellum, gold framing line, mounted on board
338 x 5 in. (8.5 x 13 cm)
Sale Room Notice
A somewhat larger, apparently unsigned version of the composition, with minor differences, is at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa (inv. 41487).
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Lot Essay

This typical cabinet painting by König can be compared with three slightly larger examples, also done on vellum and laid down on panel, depicting scenes from Genesis: The Flood and The Rainbow after the Flood, in 1988 at Hazlitt, Gooden & Fox, London (European drawings. Recent acquisitions, nos. 47, 48, ill.; the latter work later at Sotheby’s, London, 8 July 2015, lot 1); and Angels escorting Lot and his family from Sodom in the National Galleries of Scotland (inv. D 5137; see C. Bailey in The Draughtsman’s Art, exhib. cat., Edinburgh, National Gallery of Scotland, 1999, no. 36, ill.). Here, another Old Testament book, that of Job, is illustrated: the theft of Job’s castle, donkeys and camels and the murder of his servants (Job 1,15 and 17), the destruction of his house and death of his sons and daughters (1,19), the scolding by his wife (2,9), and the visit of his friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite (2,11-13). In particular in the evocative, colourful depiction of the landscape, the works shows the influence of Adam Elsheimer (1578-1610), whom König may have met when he arrived in Rome in the year of Elsheimer’s death.

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