Jacob Jordaens

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Jacob Jordaens
Mercury Standing, Seen from Behind
ca. 1620
Red and black chalk, brown wash, red watercolor, and white and brown opaque watercolor.
18 1/4 x 11 1/8 inches (464 x 283 mm)
Partial gift of Clement C. Moore II and partial purchase on the Acquisitions Fund.

Watermark: Horn with strap, inside crowned shield over "4" and "WR".

Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 4 May 1933, lot 87; Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 4 Feburary 1972; Galerie Claude Aubry, Paris, 1974, cat. 57; Jacques Petit-Hory, Paris (1929-1992), by 1978; Hôtel Drouot, Audap-Godeau-Solanet, 26 June 1987, lot 123; Christie's, Amsterdam, 25 November 1992, lot 542; Tajan, Paris, 7 April 1995, lot 94; collection of Bert Quadvlieg, The Netherlands; his sale, Hampel, Munich, 4 December 2009, lot 25.

Most likely dating to around 1620, when Jordaens was associated with Rubens's Antwerp studio, this impressive large-scale drawing represents a figure wearing the helmet and winged sandals of Mercury, seen from behind. The artist based the figure's pose on an ivory statuette of Mercury designed by Rubens, now at the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg. However, instead of faithfully following Rubens's prototype, Jordaens transformed Mercury's male frame by giving the figure a distinctly female anatomy. Notable for its pristine condition, the drawing was executed using a complex system of hatching in black and red chalks, with the addition of vibrant washes and bodycolor, and is an excellent example of the very idiosyncratic drawing technique that Jordaens developed in the 1620s and 30s.

Associated names: 

Petit-Horry, Jacques, former owner.
Quadvlieg, Bert, former owner.

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