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Landscape with Hermit preaching
Swanevelt, Herman van
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Swanevelt, Herman van

Woerden (Netherlands), 1603 - Paris (France), 1655

See author's file

Landscape with Hermit preaching

1639 - 1641. Oil on canvas.
Not on display

The painting entered the Museum as an original work by Herman van Swanevelt. This attribution is maintained in later catalogues and accepted by all authors. In early Museum catalogues the work is described as the companion piece to Landscape with Fisherman Family at Dusk (P2141).

In the latest general inventory of paintings (1990) this work is listed as Landscape with Saint Paul preaching. However Capitelli (2005) proposes that the preacher be identified as Saint Sebald, an anchorite from Nuremberg included in Oraculum anachoreticum, a series of engravings after drawings by Marten de Vos that was devoted to Clement VIII Aldobrandini and published in Antwerp and Venice in 1600 by Jan and Raphael Sadeler. In the opinion of this author, Van Swanevelt would have drawn inspiration from the same series for the no longer extant Landscape with Orchard and Saint Fiacre of Meaux at Prayer, of which only a preliminary drawing survives.

Light enters from the left, illuminating the group of listeners located on the right beneath the luxuriant grove of trees and casting a shadow over the left hand side, where the monk stands with his back to the viewer, beside a withered tree. A warm light envelops the background, where a fortress and various buildings emerge from among the leafy vegetation. The horizon is enclosed by mountains. As Steland points out (forthcoming), the compositional scheme is derived from the scenes of the preachings of Saint John the Baptist. The treatment of the leaves and trunks of the trees is characteristic of Van Swanevelt.

The X-radiograph reveals a prominent outline of light around the background mountains. It is very similar to that found in the X-rays of Jan Both`s vertical landscapes, especially Taking the Cattle out (P2061), which makes it reasonable to think that Both was involved in the present work. The figures are not superimposed over the scenery as in the horizontal landscapes; rather, space was set aside for them. Luna (1984) and Barghahn (1986) do not consider them to be originals by Van Swanevelt. However, Steland correctly attributes them to the painter and connects them with some of the figures dotting the landscapes executed by Van Swanevelt during his last years in Rome, such as Birth of Adonis and Abduction of Adonis (Rome, Galleria Doria Pamphilj). But what is more, the type, groupings, poses and clothing of these figures allow this landscape to be related to biblical scenes painted by Van Swanevelt during those years, such as Landscape with the Sale of Joseph (Text drawn from Posada Kubissa, T.: Pintura holandesa en el Museo Nacional del Prado. Catálogo razonado, 2009, p. 331).


Technical data

Inventory number
Swanevelt, Herman van
Landscape with Hermit preaching
1639 - 1641
Height: 212 cm; Width: 157 cm
Paisajes para el Palacio del Buen Retiro
Royal Collection (Buen Retiro Palace, Madrid, 1701, [no. 148]; Buen Retiro, 1794, no. 127).

Bibliography +

Osaba y Ruiz de Erenchun, Basilio, Historial del Museo Arqueologico de Burgos, Institucion Fernan Gonzalez, Burgos, 1960, pp. 50.

Valdivieso, Enrique, Pintura Holandesa del siglo XVII en españa, Universidad, Valladolid, 1973, pp. 376-377.

Inventarios reales: testamentaria del Rey Carlos II : 1701-1, Museo del PradoPatronato Nacional de Museos, Madrid, 1975, pp. 288/ nº148.

Claudio de Lorena y el ideal clásico de paisaje en el siglo, Ministerio de Cultura, Dirección General de Bellas, Madrid, 1984, pp. 198.

Barghahn, Barbara Von, Philip IV and the Golden House of the Buen Retiro in the Tradition of Caesar, Garland PublishingInc., Nueva York, 1986, pp. lám. 773.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: inventario general de pinturas (I) La Colección Real, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1990.

Galera, Esther, Herman van Swanevelt y la pintura de paisaje en la Colección Real española del siglo XVII, Goya : revista de arte : publicación bimestral de..., 280, 2001, pp. 26.

Capitelli, Giovanna, Los paisajes para el Palacio del Buen Retiro, En: El Palacio del Rey Planeta. Felipe IV y el Buen Retiro, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2005, pp. 254/ lám.82.

Steland, Anne Charlotte., Herman van swanevelt (um 1603-1655). Gemälde und Zeicnungen, Petersberg, 2009.

Posada Kubissa, Teresa, Pintura holandesa en el Museo Nacional del Prado. Catálogo razonado, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2009, pp. 227-229.

Steland, Anne Charlotte, Herman van Swanevelt (um 1603-1655): Gemälde und Zeichnungen, Michael Imhof, Petersberg, 2010, pp. 173.

Other inventories +

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 1788.
Swanevelt (Herman, llamado el ermitaño) / 1788. Pais. / en el san pablo predicando; multitud de gente le escucha al pie de un grupo de arboles. / alto 7 pies, 7 pulg; ancho 5 pies, 6 pulg.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1873-1907. Núm. 1713.
1713.-(1788-R.)-País.-Le anima la escena de San Pablo predicando, con multitud de gente escuchándole al pie de un grupo de árboles. / Alto 2,12; ancho 1,53.-L.

Inv. Testamentaría Carlos II, Buen Retiro, 1701-1703. Núm. [148].
[148] Un Pais original del Ytaliano de dos Uaras y media de alto y siette quartas de ancho Con Vn hermitaño predicando a gran numero de gente Con marco tallado y doradao tassado en ochentta doblones ... 4800

Museo Real de Pinturas a la muerte de Fernando VII, 1834. Núm. fol.430.
Seis. Pais muy hermoso, San Pablo predicando con un completo auditorio Ssbanebell Lº 9.000

Inv. Carlos III, Palacio Nuevo, 1772. Núm. 164.
164= Retiro= Otrop pais como al amanecer con varias figuras del mismo autor [Claudio de Lorena] y tamaña.

Inv. Testamentaría Carlos III, Buen Retiro, 1794. Núm. 127.
{2490} 127. Otra [pintura] del mismo [Claudio Lorenès]. Un Pais con barias figuras, de dos varas de alto y tres y quarta de ancho ... 5.000

Inscriptions +

Inscribed in pen and ink. Stretcher

426 1a Pieza del P. 5121
Handwritten label in black ink. Frame, back, left side bar

Wood nameplate. Frame, front, lower bar

Ministerio de Educación Nacional / Dirección General de Bellas Artes/ Casón del Buen Retiro / Exposición de San Pablo en el Arte/ Numero del Catálogo 74
Printed label. Stretcher

No 5121
Inscribed in pen and black ink. Stretcher

Nº 74. SP
Scrap of paper. Stretcher

Inscribed. Stretcher

nº20 426 1ª Pieza de
Inscribed. Frame, back, right side bar

Pais con un Apóstol pre/dicando. en lienzo nº6. X
Scrap of paper. Frame, back, upper bar

6./ Pais con un Apostol/ predicando
Handwritten label. Stretcher

Update date: 24-11-2022 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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