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A Philosopher
Koninck, Salomon
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Koninck, Salomon

Amsterdam, 1609 - Amsterdam, 1656

See author's file

A Philosopher

1635. Oil on panel.
Not on display

This painting enters the Museum as the work of Salomon Koninck, an attribution which remains valid until the 1963 catalogue, when, according to Valdivieso (1973), a proposal by Clotilde Brière-Misme and Horst Gerson cause it to be attributed to Abraham van den Hecken (active 1635-1655).

However, despite the harsh modelling of the facial features, the compositional arrangement and, above all, the pictorial treatment of fabrics and light, coupled with the intricate reproduction of detail -particularly in the book still-life- suggest it could be a product of Koninck`s mature style.

In keeping with Koninck`s characteristic representation of scholars, generally portrayed reading or writing, the subject -perhaps a rabbi, in view of his beard and cap- is sitting at his desk. The only part of the room visible is a wall in the background, divided into two open niches between two semicircular arches supported by a pilaster made from three fluted demi-columns embedded in the wall. A curtain separates the foreground, occupied by the scholar, from the background. The compositional structure and elements, like the book still-life and the curtain, place this work in the same sphere as Rembrandt`s Scholar at a Table with Books, which dates from 1634. It is likely that Ferdinand Bol drew inspiration from this painting for his etching Philosopher meditating, which dates from 1655. The way in which the beard is rendered, with fine dark lines over a lighter, more diffuse base, appears to reproduce the technique used in the painted image.

The model is similar to that in The Hermit, dated 1643 (Dresden, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister) -the finely overlaid brushstrokes in the beard are again similar in both cases-, the Old Rabbi seated by an Altar (Turin, Galleria Sabauda), as well as the seated rabbi writing in Daniel explaining Nebuchadnezzar`s Dream of the Four Kingdoms (Kedleston Hall, Derby, NT). On the other hand, the cloth that covers the table is reminiscent of the one that appears in Old Man counting his Coins (private collection).

There is a replica of this painting in the Museum of Copenhagen, Old Man at his Desk (inv. KMS sp487), dated 1635 and attributed to Adriaen Verdoel (ca. 1620-1675). However, Fred Meijer (in a note to the author) considers it to be a workshop replica of the Prado original (Posada Kubissa, T.: Pintura holandesa en el Museo Nacional del Prado. Catálogo razonado, 2009, p. 305).


Technical data

Inventory number
Koninck, Salomon
A Philosopher
Height: 71 cm; Width: 54 cm
Geffriers Fagel Collection, The Hague, 1752; acquired by Lord George Granville Levenson-Gower, London, 1801; Sedelmeyer Collection, 1901, from the English trade; Adolf Schloss Collection, 1951. Exhibition organized by the Sala Parés of Barcelona, 1952, with works from abroad; acquired for the Museum from Don Deogracias Magdalena, Barcelona.

Bibliography +

Hoet, Gerard, Catalogus of Naamlyst van Schilderyen, met derselver Pryzen, II, 1752, pp. 411.

Sánchez Cantón, Las adquisiciones del Museo del Prado en los años 1952-1953, Archivo español de arte, 27, 1954, pp. 105.

Salas, Xavier de, Museo del Prado. Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1972.

Valdivieso, Enrique, Pintura Holandesa del siglo XVII en españa, Universidad, Valladolid, 1973, pp. 295.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1985, pp. 326-327.

Buendía, José Rogelio, El Prado. Colecciones de Pintura, Lunwerg Editores, Madrid, 1994, pp. 454.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: inventario general de pinturas, III, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1996.

Posada Kubissa, Teresa, Pintura holandesa en el Museo Nacional del Prado. Catálogo razonado, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2009, pp. 76-78.

Ed. Mena Marques, M, La belleza encerrada: de Fra Angelico a Fortuny, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2013, pp. 228.

Mena Marqués, M.; Albarrán, V., La belleza encerrada: de Fra Angelico a Fortuny, folleto, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2013, pp. 27 n.100.

Mena Marqués, M.; Albarrán, V., Azúa, F. de, La belleza cautiva. Pequeños tesoros del Museo del Prado, Museo del Prado - Obra Social ''La Caixa'', Barcelona, 2014, pp. 120.

Prado captive beauty: treasures from the Prado Museum, Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum, 2015, pp. n.38.

Némeckova, l., 'Solomon Koninck. A philosopher' En:, Rembrandt: Portrait of a Man., Národní galerie Praha,, 2020, pp. 172 nº 53..

Other inventories +

Inv. Nuevas Adquisiciones (iniciado en 1856). Núm. 1789.
Autor, Salomon Koninck / 1789. Asunto, "Un filósofo" / Tabla / Nº del catálogo 2974 /Adquisición a los hijos de Cano, por el Patronato del Museo en 250.000 ptas el 7-febrero 1953

Inscriptions +

S.K. 1635 [sobre el registro del libro cerrado]
Signed and dated. Front, Lower right area

[Columna recortada (59 x 7 cm.) del diario "The Times", del jueves 22 de enero de 1840, con el obituario "The late Lord Granville"]
Scrap of paper. Back, central area

[I]nterior with Lawyer / Seated / Solomon Koningh / Amsterdam 1609-1674 / signed SK 1635 / Once in Stafford Gallery
Inscribed in golden colour. Back, lower area

11924 / S. Koning
Inscribed in golden colour. Back, Upper left area

Inscribed with chalk. Back, left side

Salomon Koning – the works of Rembrandt / are [...] in the / principal collections / in [...] to the form of [...] / couloring is considered [...] / tones than Rembran[dt...] / there are to be found [....] many Rembrandts [...] / this work challenges [...] / Gerard Dou – in [...] / From the Coll
Inscribed in golden colour. Back, Upper right area

[fragmento de etiqueta orlada]
Scrap of paper. Back, central area

Printmaking. Back, central area

ANNULE [y sello ilegible]
Printmaking. Back, lower right area

Caisse 4 / Salomon de Koninck / nº137
Inscribed in golden colour. Back, right side

1 9 2 [en tres diferentes etiquetas redondas y de color azul]
Inscribed. Back, right side

Scrap of paper. Back, lower central area

Inscribed with chalk. Back, central area

Exhibitions +

Rembrandt - Drama of Mind in 5 Acts
25.09.2020 - 21.03.2021

Captive Beauty. Treasures from The Prado Museum
10.10.2015 - 31.01.2016

Captive Beauty. Small Treasures at the Prado Museum
16.07.2014 - 05.01.2015

Captive Beauty. Fra Angelico to Fortuny
21.05.2013 - 10.11.2013

Dutch Painters at the Prado
03.12.2009 - 11.04.2010

Displayed objects +


Desk accessories / Stationary

Hourglass: Reloj de arena, colocado en una hornacina. Muy desvaído.

Update date: 24-06-2022 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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