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David Teniers the Younger
Woman Bathing by David Teniers the Younger (Flemish) after Giovanni Bellini

Circa 1650

$109,988.27

About

This "pasticcio" by Teniers is preparatory to the engraving by Jan Popels depicting Giovanni Bellini's Woman bathing, which was made to illustrate the Theatrum Pictorium, the first illustrated catalogue in the history of European Art, published in 1660 on the initiative of Archduke Leopold-Guillaume de Habsburg. 1. David Téniers II Son of David Teniers the Elder and Dymphna de Wilde, David Teniers II probably received his first painting lessons from his father, before continuing his training in the studio of Adriaen Brouwer. In 1632 he became a member of the Antwerp guild, as a specialist in small religious formats and genre paintings. He then joined forces with Jan Brueghel the Elder, known as de Velours, and in 1637 he married his daughter Anne. In 1647, he worked for the Archduke Leopold-Guillaume of Habsburg, who governed the Spanish Netherlands, and he followed him to Brussels as a court painter in 1651. His responsibilities included the management of the Archduke's collection of works of art and the production of an illustrated catalogue: The Theatrum Pictorium, which was published in 1660. For this catalogue he painted small copies of Italian, mainly Venetian, paintings from the Archduke's collection. These paintings served as models for the engravers and were called "pasticci". The collection of paintings was eventually bequeathed by Leopold William to his nephew Emperor Leopold I, and became imperial property. Today it forms the core of the collections of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. 2. Description of Bellini’s original The Woman bathing, painted around 1515 by Giovanni Bellini is one of the most beautiful nudes of the Italian Renaissance. In this painting, which is one of his last masterpieces, Giovanni Bellini follows the fashion of the time and represents the idealized portrait of a “femme à la toilette”, a "Bella" as painted by his pupils Giorgione or Titian. In a very narrow frame, the Beauty is depicted by Bellini from the waist up, sitting on a bench clad with an oriental carpet. She is naked but wears a shawl on her arm and around her waist. In her right hand she holds a mirror in which she contemplates herself, while her elaborate hairstyle is reflected in another mirror fixed to the wall, revealing her pearl brooch that holds the sumptuous brocade that encircles her hair. A letter is placed beside her, and this letter could evoke the story of Bathsheba, who is often depicted bathing as she receives a letter from King David asking her to become his wife. The Beauty occupies the central space of the picture, seated in front of a dark wall that brings out the delicacy of her complexion. A country landscape opens up through a window to her right, in front of which a vase half-filled with water is placed on the window sill. One can imagine that the composition (central figure placed in front of the composition, the split of the space into two parts, one enclosed and the other opening onto a perspective) could have inspired Titian when some twenty years later he painted the Venus of Urbino. 3. Description of Teniers’ pasticcio Teniers takes up these narrative elements with precision but, in translating a large painting into a miniature intended to guide the engraver's strokes, he radically alters its proportions. He abandons the narrow framing as if he were taking a step back from the subject and thus restores a certain majesty to the image. While the details of the hairstyle and the vase are finely represented (including the pearls of the jewel reflected in the mirror), the woman's physiognomy changes and one can feel the expressive and mutinous face of a Flemish peasant woman, similar to those Teniers portrayed on many occasions, emerging from beneath the idealised Venetian beauty. While remaining faithful to Bellini's painting, Teniers here produces a deeply original work. Beneath the pictorial layer at the bottom of the figure, as in many other pasticci, the traces of the inscriptions that Teniers probably intended for the engravers appear. These instructions were later covered over (probably in Teniers' workshop), extending the knees slightly below the original composition created by Bellini. The painting is presented in an Italian, probably Venetian, frame from the late 16th or early 17th century. The decoration of "pastiglia" (a plaster and animal glue-based coating applied to the wood before gilding) is inspired by the brocades of that period and is a subtle echo of the fabric that wraps around the hair of our Beauty. It should be noted that a frame very similar in both decoration and dimensions can be found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (Gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, 1962, 62.273.8). 4. The Theatrum Pictorium and the pasticcio Bellini's painting was imported to England by James Hamilton (1606 - 1649), the first Duke of Hamilton (1643), and was one of the four hundred paintings acquired after his death from his heirs by Archduke Leopold-Guillaume of Habsburg. Leopold-Guillaume of Habsburg (1614 - 1662) was the last son of Emperor Ferdinand II of Habsburg and Maria Anna of Bavaria and the brother of Emperor Ferdinand III. Governor General of the Spanish Netherlands from 1647 to 1656, he built up one of the most splendid collections of paintings of his time, most of them being Venetian masterpieces. David Teniers II, who entered his service in 1647, supervised the editorial adventure of the Theatrum Pictorium by painting small replicas of paintings from the collection to serve as "modello" (preparatory sketches) for the engravings in this book published after the Archduke's return to Vienna in 1660. The engraving representing our painting (inverted in relation to the pasticcio) is the seventh in the publication. Of these 246 pasticci more than half were in the collections of the Dukes of Malborough in Blenheim until their sale in July 1886; this is not the case with our panel, which like other pasticci with a very attractive subject, seems to have been sold separately by Téniers after the related engraving was executed. Pasticci have always been a subject of collection and today the largest collection of pasticci is kept at the Courtauld Institute Gallery in London (fourteen in total) while the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, which holds the majority of the Archduke's paintings, houses seven. Other sets of several pasticci are also kept at the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin, the Wallace Collection in London, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Princeton University Art Museum, the Glasgow Museum, the Stedelijk Museum at Lakenhal in Leiden and the Musée du Louvre in Paris, while many other institutions house a single pasticcio. 5. Conclusion: our opinion on the work Anchored in the heart of European Art History, this painting, recently rediscovered in a private collection in New Aquitaine, represents the audacious synthesis between the voluptuousness of Venetian painting and the precision of Flemish painting. Paraphrasing what Jean de Lacretelle wrote about the Jardin de Brécy in Calvados, we can summarize it as "the attire of an Italian princess thrown on the shoulders of a small Flemish peasant girl".

Details

  • Creator
    David Teniers the Younger (1610 - 1690, Flemish)
  • Creation Year
    Circa 1650
  • Dimensions
    Height: 6.3 in. (16 cm)Width: 8.27 in. (21 cm)
  • Medium
  • Movement & Style
  • Period
  • Condition
    Italian frame from the late 16th / early 17th century. A very similar in both decoration and dimensions can be found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. 16 x 21 cm ((30 x 35.5 cm with frame) This painting has been restored - CR on request.
  • Gallery Location
    PARIS, FR
  • Reference Number
    1stDibs: LU156828175332

Shipping & Returns

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    Estimated Customs Duties & Taxes to the Continental US: $0.
    Ships From: PARIS, France
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