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Landscape with Saint Francis in Meditation
Swanevelt, Herman van
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Swanevelt, Herman van

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

See author's file

Landscape with Saint Francis in Meditation

1634 - 1639. Oil on canvas.
On display elsewhere

Although the painting entered the Museum as a copy of a work by Jan Both, it is recorded as an anonymous work by the Flemish school from the 1843 catalogue onwards. It is listed as such by Díaz Padrón (1975), and the attribution is maintained up until the last general inventory (1990). In 1976 Barghahn identifies it as the landscape described in the Buen Retiro inventory of 1701 and proposes it be ascribed to Herman van Swanevelt, an attribution that is backed by Steland (forthcoming).

The scene represents a friar kneeling at the foot of a crag covered in lush vegetation near the bank of a stream. The habit and the skull he holds enable us to identify the scene as Saint Francis meditating. On the riverbank there is another Franciscan monk, sitting with his back to the viewer, reading a book. At the furthermost end of the crag stand the ruins of an ancient temple.

As Steland points out, the compositional scheme repeats, in reverse, that of Landscape with Saint Rosalia of Palermo (P2063). Even the mountain in the background appears to be the same. But here the composition is enclosed on the left by a tree. The pictorial treatment of the leaves, branches and trunks of the trees as well as of the vegetation is characteristic of Van Swanevelt. The rocks on the right are also very similar to those in the Abduction ofApollo, one of Van Swanevelt`s landscapes executed in 1633-34 and housed in the Galleria Doria Pamphilj in Rome. However, the dense vegetation covering the mountain crag places the scene in the orbit of the landscapes of the Galleria Barberini or of the Tobias and the Angel signed by the painter in Rome (Moldavia, Sternberk Castle, inv. 462).

It has not been possible to obtain an X-ray image of the painting and therefore the potential involvement of Jan Both in the background mountains cannot be ascertained, although the overall lighting is reminiscent of Landscape with Carmelites (P2058), here attributed to Both. As in Landscape with Hermit bound in Chains (P2034) and Landscape with Carmelites, the figure of the friar may be attributed to Andries Both (Text drawn Posada Kubissa, T.: Pintura holandesa en el Museo Nacional del Prado. Catálogo razonado, 2009, p. 329).


Technical data

Inventory number
Swanevelt, Herman van
Landscape with Saint Francis in Meditation
1634 - 1639
Height: 145 cm; Width: 215 cm
Paisajes para el Palacio del Buen Retiro
Royal Collection (Buen Retiro Palace, Madrid, 1701, [no. 203]; New Royal Palace, Madrid, 1772, no. 203).

Bibliography +

Gaya Nuño, J. A., Notas al catálogo del Museo del Prado, Boletín de la Sociedad Española de Excursiones, 58, 1954, pp. 136.

Inventarios reales: testamentaria del Rey Carlos II : 1701-1, Museo del PradoPatronato Nacional de Museos, Madrid, 1975, pp. 293/ nº203.

Díaz Padrón, Matías, Museo del Prado. Catálogo de pinturas. Escuela flamenca, Museo del Prado; Patrimonio Nacional de Museos, Madrid, 1975, pp. 462.

Blunt, A., Poussin at Rome and Dusseldorf, The Burlington magazine, 120, 1978, pp. 421-425.

Barghahn, Barbara Von, Philip IV and the Golden House of the Buen Retiro in the Tradition of Caesar, Garland PublishingInc., Nueva York, 1986, pp. 199 / lám. 806.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: inventario general de pinturas (I) La Colección Real, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1990, pp. nº1819.

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.

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. 217-218.

Steland, Anne Charlotte, Herman van Swanevelt (um 1603-1655): Gemälde und Zeichnungen, Michael Imhof, Petersberg, 2010, pp. 206.

Orihuela, M. Pérez, L, El Prado Disperso: Obras depositadas en las embajadas de Berna, Estocolmo, La Haya, Londres, Moscú, Rabat, Viena y en el consulado de Tánger. Estocolmo, Boletín del Museo del Prado, XXXIII, 2015, pp. 144-154 [146].

Other inventories +

Inv. Testamentaría Carlos II, Buen Retiro, 1701-1703. Núm. [203].
[203] Ottro del mismo tamaño marco y auttor que el anttezedente Con San francisco tasado en settentta doblones ... 4.200.

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 1819.
Escuela flamenca / 1819. Pais montuoso con lontananza. / Sobre un peñasco, a la derecha, se eleva un templo arruinado. / Alto 5 pies, 2 pulg, 6 lin; ancho 7 pies, 8 pulg, 6 lin.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1873-1907. Núm. 1944.
1944.-(1819-R.)-País montuoso con lontananza.-Sobre un peñasco, á la derecha, hay un templo arruinado. / Alto 1,45; ancho 2,15.-L.

Inv. Carlos III, Palacio Nuevo, 1772. Núm. 203.
Otro de san Francisco del mismo autor [Lorenes] y tamaño [tres varas menos quarta de ancho y dos escasas de caidas]

Museo Real de Pinturas a la muerte de Fernando VII, 1834. Núm. fol.430.
Sietecientos sesenta y ocho. Pais con San Francisco y su hermano compañero Copia de bolt lienzo 2.660

Inscriptions +

Inscribed in red color. Front, lower left corner

Exhibitions +

Dutch Painters at the Prado
03.12.2009 - 11.04.2010

Location +

Estocolmo - Embajada de España en Estocolmo (Deposit)

Update date: 08-11-2022 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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