A Drawing by Pieter Lastman Acquired by the Rijksmuseum

1. Pieter Lastman (1583-1633)
Nerva’s Forum Seen from the Temple of Minerva, 1606
Pen, Brown Ink, Brown Wash - 18.3 x 23.1 cm
Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum
Photo : Rijksmuseum

11/7/12 - Acquisition - Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum - At the Christie’s London auction of old master drawings early July, the Rijksmuseum purchased a landscape drawing by Pieter Lastman, Rembrandt’s master, representing Nerva’s forum seen from the temple of Minerva (ill. 1) dating from 1606 during his stay in Rome which took place between 1603 and 1607.
There is only one other view of Rome by the artist which is known today, the Palatine Hill, also dated 1606 and currently held in a private collection (ill. 2). Lastman produced only a rare number of pure landscapes. The Louvre for example owns two drawings representing a View of the Surroundings of Weissenber, in Rhineland and a View of the Village of Besdorf, outside of Cologne. However, he often painted landscapes in the background of paintings such as Hippocrates and Democritus from the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Lille and Abraham Turning away Hagar and Ishmael from the Kunsthalle in Hamburg.

2. Pieter Lastman (1583-1633)
View of Palatine Hill, 1606
Pen, Brown Ink, Brown and Grey Wash - 16.4 x 23 cm
Private Collection
Photo : D. R.

The view of the forum acquired by the Rijksmuseum is still close in style to the drawings of Northern European artists of the second half of the 16th century who worked in Italy, such as Matthijs Bril or his brother Paul Bril (who died in 1628 but was born in 1554). According to the entry in the Christie’s catalogue, the perspective seen here is unusual, as most of the artists who represented the same subject would show itfrom the spot occupied by the peasants and their donkeys, looking at the buildings on the left of the composition.

Version française

Didier Rykner, mardi 17 juillet 2012

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