Jacob Jordaens

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Jacob Jordaens
Kent u selven (Allegory of Vanity)
ca. 1650
Black chalk, watercolor, white opaque watercolor, pen and brown ink and wash, inscribed with stylus or transfer on laid paper, adhered on decorative mount.
9 11/16 x 10 15/16 inches (246 x 277 mm)
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913) in 1909.
I, 237

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Watermark: none.
The young woman is presented with a choice: look in a mirror held up by a jester or contemplate a skull in the hands of an old man. Because she is running a comb through her hair and seems untroubled by the presence of the powerful symbol of mortality, she seems to have decided. This depiction of the proverb "Kent u selven" (Know yourself) is a design for an engraving attributed to Jacob Neefs. -- Exhibition Label, from "Power and Grace: Drawings by Rubens, Van Dyck, and Jordaens"


Inscribed on old blue mount at lower right, in brown ink, "Jordaens", and in graphite, "120"; at upper left, in graphite, "1543". On verso of old mount, at lower right, in three different hands, in graphite, "A true Drawing. W / very fine. M / Do Ph"; below, in another hand, in graphite, "Jordaens from Calonnes Sale / 3. 13. 6"; above, in Farifax Murray's hand, in graphite, "Engraved-the print is / with Plantin Moretus / No. 13" at upper right, in graphite, "44".

James Hazard (no mark; see Lugt 1322); his sale, Brussels, t'Sas, 15 April 1789, lot 82; Charles Alexandre de Calonne; his sale, London, Skinner & Dyke, 23-28 March 1795, probably lot 41 ("Two by Van Dyck and Jordaens") or lot 42 ("One Ditto, by Jordaens, fine"); Henry Temple, second Viscount Palmerston (1739-1802); Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston (1784-1865); probably his stepson, William Francis Cowper-Temple, Baron Mount-Temple (1811-1888); his nephew, the Right Honorable Evelyn Ashley (1836-1907); biographer of second Viscount Palmerston; Ashley's sale (collection of second Viscount Palmerston), London, Christie's, 24 April 1891, one of four by different artists in lot 120 (to Fairfax Murray for £0.12.0); Charles Fairfax Murray (1849-1919), London and Florence; from whom purchased through Galerie Alexandre Imbert, Rome, in 1909 by Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913), New York (no mark; see Lugt 1509); his son, J. P. Morgan, Jr. (1867-1943), New York.
Associated names: 

Hazard, James, former owner.
Calonne, Charles Alexandre de, 1734-1802, former owner.
Palmerston, Henry Temple, Viscount, 1739-1802, former owner.
Palmerston, Henry John Temple, Viscount, 1784-1865, former owner.
Mount Temple, William Francis Cowper-Temple, Baron, 1811-1888, former owner.
Ashley, Evelyn, 1836-1907, former owner.
Murray, Charles Fairfax, 1849-1919, former owner.
Morgan, J. Pierpont (John Pierpont), 1837-1913, former owner.


Tuinen, Ilona van. Power and Grace : Drawings by Rubens, Van Dyck, and Jordaens. New York : Morgan Library & Museum, 2018, no. 14 (repr.)
Collection J. Pierpont Morgan : Drawings by the Old Masters Formed by C. Fairfax Murray. London : Privately printed, 1905-1912, I, 237.
Stampfle, Felice, with the assistance of Ruth S. Kraemer and Jane Shoaf Turner. Netherlandish Drawings of the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries and Flemish Drawings of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries in the Pierpont Morgan Library. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1991, p. 131, no. 284, repr.

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