A painting after Primatice acquired by the Centre des monuments nationaux for Azay-le-Rideau

Dutch painter active in France, after Primatice,
Andromache Faints after Hearing the Death of Hector
Oil on panel - 114 x 141.8 cm
Azay-le-Rideau, château
Photo : C.M.N.

27/2/09 – Acquisition – Azay-le-Rideau, château – The Centre des monuments nationaux has just acquired a painting representing Andromache Faints after Hearing the Death of Hector (ill.) probably painted by an artist from the Netherlands active in France [1], after a lost work by Primatice.
This panel, previously unpublished, had been presented in 2004 at the Louvre during the exhibition on Primatice, the Fontainebleau master [2]. The original composition was already known thanks to two copies in drawing, held by the Bibliothèque nationale de France and in a private collection, as well as by a painted version belonging to the Museum of Works of Art at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, R.I. in the United States. The latter, long thought to be an original, is in fact a copy, with extensive repainting.

Dominique Cordellier, in the catalogue for the Louvre exhibition, writes that the author of this painting “had certainly learned his trade in the Low Countries”. He likens his manner to that of the early works of Cornelis van Haarelm, who was in France at the age of seventeen, without going so far as to suggest that it might be by this artist whose style at that time is not known. Dominique Cordellier also points out that “one of the brothers of his master, Dirk Pieterz, was part of the small artist community from the Low Countries which had settled in Fontainebleau”. In any case, these statements help to establish the context in which the painting was produced.

The painting will be included in the visit of the château at Azay-le-Rideau starting in late 2009 only.

Version française

Didier Rykner, vendredi 27 février 2009


[1] When put up for sale at Tajan on 18 December 2008, it did not reach its reserve price. It was then wisely acquired by the Centre des monuments nationaux after the auction (for 250,000€ including charges), as allowed by law now.

[2] Primatice. Maître de Fontainebleau, Paris, Musée du Louvre, 22 September 2004 – 3 January 2005.

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