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Oil painting - The Triumph of Saul (a sketch)
  • The Triumph of Saul (a sketch)
    Hoecke, Jan van den, born 1611 - died 1651
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The Triumph of Saul (a sketch)

  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Date:

    mid 17th century (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Hoecke, Jan van den, born 1611 - died 1651 (painter (artist))

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pencil and oil on oak panel

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Rev., Chauncy Hare Townshend

  • Museum number:

    1341-1869

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Saul, the King of Israel, rides in triumph on a horse-drawn chario,t surrounded by his war trophies, towards the walls of a city attended by his soldiers and David holding the head of the felled Philistine giant Goliath, they are greeted by women and children playing instruments. Jan van den Hoecke (bapt. 1611-1651) was a Flemish painter who also worked in Italy and Austria, and was a pupil of Rubens. One of his earliest works from his Antwerp period include the oil sketch of the Triumph of David (Kimbell Art Museum,TX) which relates both stylistically and compositionally to 1341-1869. van den Hoecke left Antwerp for Rome by 1637 and remained there until 1644. In Rome he was clearly influenced by the paintings of Guido Reni as well as by antique sources. However, after leaving Italy, he gradually modified his style, adopting more closely Rubens’s approach of ca. 1610–20 rather than the master’s picturesque virtuoso late style. van den Hoecke's success appears to have been greatly due to his ability to adapt the classicizing trends of Italian Seicento painting to the style he had learnt in the Antwerp studio of Rubens.

Physical description

Saul, the King of Israel, rides in triumph on a horse-drawn chariot, surrounded by his war trophies, towards the walls of a city attended by his soldiers and David holding the head of the felled Philistine giant Goliath, they are greeted by women and children playing instruments

Date

mid 17th century (painted)

Artist/maker

Hoecke, Jan van den, born 1611 - died 1651 (painter (artist))

Materials and Techniques

Pencil and oil on oak panel

Dimensions

Height: 58.7 cm estimate, Width: 85.7 cm estimate

Object history note

Bequeathed by Rev. Chauncy Hare Townshend, 1868
'Chauncy Hare Townshend (1798-1868) was born into a wealthy family, only son of Henry Hare Townsend of Busbridge Hall, Godalming, Surrey. Educated at Eton and Trinity Hall, Cambridge (BA 1821). Succeeded to the family estates 1827, when he added 'h' to the Townsend name. He had taken holy orders, but while he always referred to himself as 'Rev.' on the title pages of his books, he never practised his vocation... . Very much a dilettante in the eighteenth-century sense, he moved in the highest social and literary circles; a great friend of Charles Dickens (he was the dedicatee of Great Expectations) with whom he shared a fascination of mesmerism... Bulwer Lytton described his life's 'Beau-deal of happiness' as 'elegant rest, travel, lots of money - and he is always ill and melancholy'. Of the many watercolours and British and continental oil paintings he bequeathed to the V&A, the majority are landscapes. He is the first identifiable British collector of early photographs apart from the Prince Consort, particularly landscape photography, and also collected gems and geological specimens.'

Ref : Parkinson, Ronald, Catalogue of British Oil Paintings 1820-1860. Victoria & Albert Museum, HMSO, London, 1990. p.xix.

Historical significance: Jan van den Hoecke (bapt. 1611-1651) was a Flemish painter and draughtsman, active also in Italy and Austria. He may have received his first training with his father, Caspar van den Hoecke ( fl 1595–1648) but later became a pupil of Rubens. One of his earliest works from his Antwerp period include the oil sketch of the Triumph of David (Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, TX, Inv. AP 1966.03) which relates both stylistically and compositionally to 1341-1869. van den Hoecke left Antwerp for Rome by 1637 and remained there until 1644. In Rome he was clearly influenced by the paintings of Guido Reni as well as by antique sources. He next entered the service of Archduke Leopold William, first at the imperial court at Vienna and later in Brussels. However, after leaving Italy, he gradually modified his style, adopting more closely Rubens’s approach of c. 1610–20 rather than the master’s picturesque virtuoso late style. His success appears to have been greatly due to his ability to adapt the classicizing trends of Italian Seicento painting to the style he had learnt in the Antwerp studio of Rubens. There is a very similar drawing, The triumphal return of David, vanquisher of Goliath attributed to Abraham van Diepenbeck (1596-1675) in the Louvre (inv. 19897).

Historical context note

History painting, i.e. depictions of non recurring events based on religious, classical, literary or allegorical sources, particularly developed in the second half of the 17th century in the Netherlands. Although, history painting began in the Netherlands in the late 15th and early 16th centuries with such artists as Hieronymus Bosch (1450-1516), Jan Mostaert (ca. 1475-1555) and Lucas van Leyden (1494-1533), it had long been overshadowed by the genre painting. Dutch artists’ new interest in naturalism transformed distant history into contemporary scenes of everyday life, situating classical and biblical scenes in Dutch settings with figures in contemporary costume and sometimes even including historicized portraits.

Descriptive line

Oil painting, 'The Triumph of Saul' (a sketch), circle of Jan van den Hoecke, mid 17th century

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Kauffmann, C.M. Catalogue of Foreign Paintings, I. Before 1800. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1973, pp. 249-251, cat. no. 309.
Waagen, Galleries and Cabinets of Art in Great Britain: Being an account of more than forty collections of Paintings, Drawings, Sculptures, Mss, etc, London, 1857, p.180.
Max Rooses, L'œuvre de P. P. Rubens; histoire et description de ses tableaux et dessins Anvers: J. Maes, 1886-92, vol. I, no. 117.
G. Ollinger-Zinque, Etude sure le peintre van Hoecke. Brussels, 1961.

Production Note

Originally attributed to Rubens, then to one of his followers, this now seems more likely to be the work of an artist in the circle of Jan van den Hoecke.

Materials

Pencil; Oil paint; Oak

Techniques

Oil painting; Drawing

Categories

Paintings

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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