Sale 17704
Old Master Drawings: Online
Online 27 November - 5 December 2019

Neither side of this unpublished sheet can be related to known paintings by Van Dyck, but they are entirely typical for his pen sketches, or ‘crabbelinghe’, from his first Antwerp and Italian periods. Among the drawings to which the recto can be compared are studies for a Sacra Conversazione, dated at the end of the 1620s, at the Albertina and in Chatsworth (H. Vey, Die Zeichnungen Anton van Dycks, Brussels, 1962, I, nos. 97, 98, II, figs. 132, 133). The combined use of pen and wash over a rough sketch in black chalk left visible is often found in his drawn œuvre, as are the hatching and the stippling (for one example, see ibid., no. 13, II, fig. 18). He strengthened and corrected some of the finer lines with brusquer penwork, as was also his habit (ibid., I, nos. 2, 6, II, figs. 2, 9). The composition is inspired by a number of Venetian paintings of the same subject which he studied during his trip to Italy (see the Italian sketchbook at the British Museum, passim, and loose sheets catalogued in Vey, op. cit., nos. 148, 149, II, fig. 188-190; the second drawing is now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, inv. 2005.253). Two original compositions by Van Dyck are also known (op. cit., I, nos. 115, 116, II, figs. 152, 153, catalogued, probably rightly, as old copies). The gesticulating men on the verso – apostles, priests, monks? – resemble those in a probably Biblical composition, for which the original drawing recently reappeared on the French art market, now in American private collection (for an old copy in a French collection, see ibid., I, no. 104, II, fig. 137).

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