11. [Dutch school]


Martyr tortured.

Ca. 1630-1640

Drawing, pen and black ink with grey and white wash over black chalk, oval: 22,6 x 17,5 cm, laid paper with indistinct watermark, unsigned.

Under passe-partout.

Undefined scene of a martyr (possibly St John the Evangelist) being tortured by two devils. While one horned devil pours hot liquid into the chained man's mouth, a second one in the right background heaths the fire in a kettle. Abraham Bloemaert's career, which spanned six decades, knew a tremendous output of over 1600 attributed drawings. The work is executed in a distinctive combination of pen and black ink and wash, with touches of white heightening and shows the fascinating way in which Bloemaert has allowed the subject to jump of the page in a vibrant manner typical of the artist. The calligraphic line and the rendering of the torso and muscle structure of the tortured protagonist looks very much like that of the body of "St Sebastian" in the Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen (Bolten no. 296), while the two demons are the same hellish archetype as seen in "The Satyr and the peasant", Sotheby's sale 16.1.1985 (Bolten no. 538). The contorted pose of the central figure shows a depth to the complex figural types of the Haarlem humanists such as Spranger and Goltzius. The oval shape of the drawing may indicate that it was a design to be executed into another medium.
Ref. Cp. J. Bolten, Abraham Bloemaert. The Drawings, Oetgeest 2007, nos. 296, 538c.
Prov. Ms. inscription on verso in pen and brown ink "dessein acheté de Groote pour 30 lv".

€ 2.000 / 3.000

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