Sunday, December 01, 2013

Who painted this? #54

Who painted this? #54
When I first came across this artist, in a book, I was amazed that I'd never heard of him before given his fame and the success that he enjoyed in his lifetime.

Next week I'll tell you where you can see some fine examples of his paintings in London.

Don't forget besides wanting the answers to all the usual questions (see below) I'd also like to hear about what you managed to find out about the artist and painting - and the best answer wins this week's challenge!

How to participate in "Who painted this? #54"


PLEASE make sure you read the rules before posting a comment - and ONLY POST ON THIS BLOG what you think is the answer.

Click this link to read THE RULES for participating in this challenge (this saves having to copy them out for each post!).

In short:
  • use your brains not software to find the answer - search using words only on a database of images 
  • leave your answer as a comment on this blog - do not leave the answer on Facebook! 
  • if correct it will not be published until the next post - which provides the answer 
  • if wrong it will be published 
  • the winner - who gets a mention and a link on/from this blog - is NOT THIS WEEK the first person to give me a completely correct answer for ALL the things I want to know. It's the person who does all this AND provides the BEST answer (see above)

Who Painted This #53 - The Answer

Winter by Abel Grimmer
Abel Grimmer is a Flemish painter of the Baroque era. He was born in Antwerp in 1570.  His father was Jacob Grimmer (1525-before May 1590) who was also a landscape painter. Grimmer's other influences were  Pieter Brueghel the Elder and Hans Bol.

The two artists - father and son - specialised in landscapes and often completed sets of paintings based on the Four Seasons or the Months of the Year - often including a Biblical scene. There was a tendency to copy other painters or prints of sets of paintings.

You can see:
I was absolutely fascinated by the details of the origins of this painting which you collectively succeeded in turning up. Don't you just love the way art evolves over time!

Initial comments by those providing answers suggest that the antecedents of the painting are
  • a series of engravings by Hieronymus Cock
  • based on a series of drawing by Hans Bol (since lost)
Grimmer's painting was also recognised to be very like a painting by Pieter Brueghel the younger which is called Winter Landscape with Skaters ( of which at least one version resides in the Picker Art Gallery, Colgate University). However this was completed in 1616 which means the Grimmer came first!

Winter Landscape with Skaters by Piter Brueghel the Youngeroil on panel, unframed 16 3/8 x 22 1/4 in. (41.5 x 56.5 cm)
sold at Christies January 2003
This blog post (on Rompedas which is a very curious blog) about the painting by Pieter Brueghel explains the sequence.

However I think he relies on this catalogue description relating an art auction of works by Bol at Christies on January 23 in 2003
The composition of Pieter Brueghel the Younger's splendid winter landscape is closely based upon a lost drawing by Hans Bol (1534-1593). Bol was both a draftsman and painter, and an accomplished watercolorist ( waterschilderen ). Many of his drawings were made into prints by engravers such as Hieronymous Cock and Phillip Galle, and in 1570, a year after the death of Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Hieronymus Cock published a series of four engravings depicting The Four Seasons . These had been commissioned by the elder Bruegel, and were to be after compositions that he was working on. The drawing for Spring, in the Albertina, is dated 1565, that for Summer 1568. However, Brueghel the Younger was unable to complete all four drawings before his death, and Cock turned to Hans Bol to supply Autumn and Winter in time to publish his engravings in 1570. Neither of Bol's drawings survives. Ertz ( op. cit. ) notes that the present painting is the earliest dated version of this composition. Both Pieter Brueghel the Younger and Abel Grimmer used the series as the basis for paintings, Grimmer generally remaining more rigorously faithful to the original drawing/engraving. The present picture shows some of the younger Brueghel's adaptations. For example, Cock and Grimmer depict a circular island with a tall conifer to the right of the castle. Brueghel introduces the footprints in the snow in the left foreground, whereas Grimmer shows the snow apparently untrod. Brueghel retains Cock's fallen branch in the foreground, adding some twigs: these are present in this picture, slightly altered in number and position. Also, the composition and appearance of the buildings in the right background are Brueghel's adaptations, as are the large windows in the castle, and the absence of men working in the fields in the left background.
However alerted by these clues as to the provenance of the painting I kept going and found this
The drawings Spring ofr565 and Summer, carried out three years later, are designs for a set of engravings devoted to the cycle of the seasons, which Bruegel unfortunately did not complete: in 1570, a year after Bruegel's death, Hieronymus Cock issued the full, four-part series with Fall and Winter designed by Hans Bol. Although only Spring bears the monogram ofPieter van der Heyden, we can be reasonably certain that this printmaker engraved the entire series;3 and we can clearly see that in both Spring and Summer he beau- tifully preserved the power ofBruegel's spatial conception as well as the more delicate aspects of his drawings.
This comes from Pieter Bruegel the Elder : drawings and prints / edited by Nadine M. Orenstein ; with contributions by Nadine M. Orenstein, Manfred Sellink, Jürgen Müller, Michel C. Plomp, Martin Royalton-Kisch, Larry Silver which I downloaded from the Metropolitan Museum of Art Publications and scoured for references to drawings of seasons.

So - I think we now have the answer.

The series of images realised by Grimmer started as a series developed by Pieter Brueghel the Elder (who was the real innovator). However he died having only completed Spring. The series of drawings were completed by Hieronymus Cock - although the Autumn and Winter images were designed by Hans Bol. Abel Grimmer then copied the entire series - and much later Pieter Brueghel the Younger copied the Winter Landscape version of the Bol / Cock image.

There - we got there in the end!

Who guessed correct?


Who painted this #53? - The first person to get the correct answer was happyjacqui - who also contributed significantly to my understanding of where this painting came from. Marie also got the answer right.

However theartistsday identified that it's part of a pair - and I found this link so that you can see Autumn and Winter by Abel Grimmer (plus Spring and Summer by Abel Grimmer)

However - the prize for the most comprehensive and complete answer again goes to Bernadette Madden!

Well done all of you - that was a really challenging puzzle!