189. [Flemish school]
DE VOS, Maerten (circle of)
Drawing, pen and black ink, grey wash, 10,6 x 16,5 cm, laid paper, signed and dated at bottom "SA Bols. 1623" (laid down on cardboard, foxing, trimmed to framing lines).
Interesting representation of Old Testament theme of the reunitement between Jacob and Esau (Genesis 33). Although the present sheet is signed at the lower right corner with a signature which resembles that of Schelte Adamsz. Bolswert, the drawing style can probably be dated the last quarter of the sixteenth century. Both date and signature may be later additions in a different ink. The virtuous rendering, the clothing of the figures and virtuous poses call to mind the large corpus of drawings made by Maerten de Vos (1532-1606), who was the predominant history painter in Antwerp during the last third of the sixteenth century. De Vos was also the most prolific designer of prints of his generation. From the 1570s to 1590s, he helped fuel the flourishing print publishing business in Antwerp, providing some 1,600 compositions reproduced by specialist engravers. About five hundred drawings have survived, most of them models for prints. No printed version of this drawing is known.
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