Man with a jug
ca. 1635 (painted)
- Materials and Techniques:
Oil on oak panel
- Credit Line:
Bequeathed by John Forster
- Museum number:
- Gallery location:
This Dutch 17th century painting was formerly thought to be by prominent Haarlem School painter Frans Hals. Haarlem was a leading centre of the Dutch Golden Age and an influx of artists to the city in the early 17th century led to the development of a new, more realistic style of painting. Hals was one of the most influential artists of the period and although the attribution to Hals of 'Man with a Jug' is no longer widely accepted, the painting can likely be ascribed to one of the many Haarlem School artist who were influenced by his work. Hals painted a number of these lively genre figures, which in turn show that Hals himself was influenced by the Utrecht School Carravaggisti.
ca. 1635 (painted)
Materials and Techniques
Oil on oak panel
Height: 49 cm approx., Width: 37.8 cm approx.
Object history note
Bequeathed by John Forster, 1876
General G. Phipps (label on back): John Forster; bequeathed to the Museum in 1876.
Historical context note
This painting was formerly ascribed to leading Haarlem School painter Frans Hals (1580-1666), however it was not included in Cornelis Hofstede de Groot's 1910 catalogue raisonné of Hals work and the attribution gradually ceased to be generally accepted.
A number of alternative attributions have been proposed, a note in the Departmental Object File suggests the painting may be an early work by Jan Miense Molenaer (1610 -1668) and another note in the file, dated February 1936 records that a Mr George Isarov(?) suggested an attribution to Hendrik Gerritsz Pot (c. 1580–1657), although this was dismissed by curator Charles Winter following comparison with known works by Pot. A further annotation on file notes that in 1936, David C. Roell (Director of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and later director-in-chief of the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam) proposed an attribution to Pieter Claesz Soutman (c.1580–1657). In his 1973 Catalogue of Foreign Paintings, I. Before 1800, Michael Kauffman concludes that although none of the aforementioned attributions are entirely convincing, they have in common ‘a Haarlem origin and the influence of [Frans] Hals’ (see full entry below).
Haarlem was one of the leading artistic centres of the Dutch Golden Age. The turn of the 17th century saw an influx of innovative craftsmen and artists into the city following the fall of Antwerp to Spanish forces in 1585. Among these artists were Hendrick Goltzius (1558–1617), Karel van Mander (1548-1606), who together with Cornelis Corneliszoon van Haarlem (1562-1638), formed an academy ‘to study from life’. Although this academy was largely theoretical, the naturalistic style it pioneered was hugely influential on the younger generation of artists and led to the flowering of a new realism in Haarlem.
Frans Hals is probably the artist most closely associated with the 17th century Haarlem School and his lively portraits were doubtless some of the most original of the period. He also painted a number of half-length genre figures before 1635, which were similar in type to the V&A’s ‘Man with a Jug’ and which demonstrate an awareness of the Caravaggesque tradition practiced by artists of the Utrecht School. These were an important influence on Haarlem artists such as Molenaer and Judith Leyster (1609-1660) in the years immediately after their production.
One further possible ascription of Musuem number F.13 to Utrecht artist Hendrick Jansz ter Brugghen (1588 –1629) is noted in the Departmental Object File. Certainly there are compositional similarities between Ter Bruggen’s half-length figures and the V&A’s ‘Man with a Jug’, although F1.13 lacks the strong chiaroscuro characteristic of Ter Brugghen and other Dutch Carravaggisti.
Ter Brugghen’s influence on Hals is widely recognised however and it seems most probable that ‘Man with a Jug’ was painted by an unidentified Haarlem School artist, who was familiar with Hals half-length genre figures. This is supported by the sitter’s attire, which can be roughly dated to the 1630s, the period at which Hals painted the last of these genre figures.
Oil painting, 'Man with a Jug', Dutch (Haarlem) School, ca. 1635
Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)
Kauffmann, C.M., Catalogue of Foreign Paintings, I. Before 1800. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1973, p. 144, cat. no. 168.
The following is the full text of the entry:
School of HAARLEM, 17th century
MAN WITH A JUG Oak panel
19 ¼ x 14 7/8 (49 x 37.8)
This picture was long called Frans Hals (1893 Catalogue, p. 179) but it was not included in Hofstede de Groot's list of works by Hals (1910) and the ascription gradually ceased to be generally accepted. Subsequently, a considerable number of attributions have been suggested, including the names of Molenaer, Pott and Soutman. Individually, none of these are convincing, but they have in common a Haarlem origin and the influence of Hals, which are also the salient characteristics of this painting. A date ca. 1635 is indicated by the costume.
Condition. Slight damage in area of join in the panel: cleaned 1959.
Prov. General G. Phipps (label on back): John Forster; bequeathed to the Museum in 1876.
Lit. Forster Collection catalogue, 1893, p. 2 (Hals).
Oil paint; Oak