Hans Speckaert

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Hans Speckaert
ca. 1540-ca. 1577
The Assumption of the Virgin
ca. 1570
Pen and brown ink and wash, with white opaque watercolor, over black chalk, on paper; incised with stylus for transfer.
12 3/4 x 11 1/8 inches (323 x 284 mm)
Purchased as the gift of the Markus Family in memory of Frits Markus.

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Speckaert's drawings were copied frequently, but originals are rare. The present one is certainly his work since it can be identified as a preparatory drawing for a print by Aegidius Sadeler. Sadeler engraved the composition and others in this series, "Life of the Virgin," in the early 1590s, roughly fifteen years after the draftsman's death. Another drawing for this series, The Circumcision, is preserved as a fragment in the British Museum. The Louvre drawing, "Assumption of the Virgin" (inv. no. 21106), is a copy of the present drawing.
Hans Speckaert is considered one of the originators of late sixteenth-century mannerism in Prague and the Netherlands. He was prominent among the small group of Flemish artists working in Rome in the second half of the sixteenth century where he developed a style characterized by tall, elongated figures in highly expressive poses. He based his work in part on earlier Mannerist artists like Parmigianino and exerted a defining influence on the later Mannerist style as practiced by artists in Prague, particularly Bartholomeus Spranger and Hans van Aachen. Through these Prague artists he had an effect on the Haarlem mannerists, specifically Hendrick Goltzius.
The Morgan Library has an excellent collection of sixteenth-century Italian drawings as well as outstanding works by the leading Dutch mannerist, Hendrick Goltzius. The present drawing represents an important missing link in the Library's collection between the art of Italy and the Netherlands.

Valerius Röver, Delft (Lugt S. 2984a-c); Jonkheer Johann Goll van Franckenstein the Elder, Amsterdam (Lugt 2987); Oskar Wichtendahl, Hanover (Lugt 4691); Dr. Martin Moeller, Hamburg.
Associated names: 

Röver, Valerius, 1686-1739, former owner.
Goll van Franckenstein, J. (Johann), 1722-1785, former owner.
Wichtendahl, Oskar, former owner.
Moeller, Martin, former owner.
Markus family, donor.

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