Discovery of one of the paintings by Jordaens for Philip’s Arch

Jacob Jordaens (1593-1678)
The Wedding of Mary of Burgundy
with Maximilian of Austria
, 1634-1635
Oil on canvas - 350 x 350 cm
Sainte-Savine (Aube), Maison pour tous

18/11/07 — Discovery — Rubens/Jordaens — The DRAC Champagne-Ardennes has just restored a large Flemish painting hanging in the exhibition gallery of the Maison pour tous, the former city hall in the small city of Sainte-Savine in the Aube region (France). This canvas, which until now was ascribed tentatively to Rubens’ workshop and was erroneously interpreted as being The Meeting of Aeneas and Dido is one of the paintings executed by Jacob Jordaens, under Rubens’ supervision, for Philip’s Arch, a monumental décor for the Triumphant Entry into Antwerp of Ferdinand, the brother of Philip IV of Spain, on 17 April 1635. This remarkable identification was made by Gilles Blieck who has published the details of his study on the website of the Ministry of Culture [1].

Philip’s Arch, in honor of the Spanish king, was the most imposing of the various elements composing the decoration, which also included a welcome podium, the gallery of Emperors, a podium for Isabella and the arch of triumph for Ferdinand [2]. Rubens designated several painters from his workshop for the project, among them Cornelis de Vos and Jacob Jordaens for the paintings ornating Philip’s Arch. De Vos painted the portraits on the lower part, on two levels, and Jordaens the two main works, The Wedding of Philip the Handsome with Joan, the Mad, of Castile on the back, and The Wedding of Mary of Burgundy with Maximilian of Austria on the front. The latter is the one that has been identified in Sainte-Savine. Its composition was known thanks to an engraving by Theodore van Thulden and an anonymous copy which has been lost today. It can also be seen in an engraving of the arch illustrating the work Pompa Introitus Ferdinandi.

The pieces by Jordaens, after disappearing at the end of the XVIIth C., were listed in several collections in the XIXth C. and were acquired by the sculptor Alfred Boucher early in the XXth C. The Wedding of Mary of Burgundy and Maximilian of Austria was no doubt given or sold by the sculptor to the painter Raymond Perreau or his son Roger Perreau, who donated the painting to the town of Sainte-Savine in 1954 (along with two sculptures by Boucher), whereas the whereabouts of the other Jordaens remain unknown. There is no doubt that a major painting by Jacob Jordaens while working with Rubens has thus been rediscovered.

Version française

Didier Rykner, dimanche 18 novembre 2007


[1] Most of the information in this News item has been taken from here.

[2] See the catalogue of the exhibition at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lille, Rubens, Editions de la RMN, Paris, 2004, p. 109-110.

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