Gerson Digital : Poland


4.1 The Drawings and their Attributions

Twenty-seven of the sheets feature drawings, which vary from a study of a chicken to completely finished compositions. Descriptions of 2004 in RKDimages were linked to the provisory name Masters of the Van Eeghen Drawing Book. In fact the hands of several artists may be discerned. Two series of drawings each appear to have been rendered by one hand:

fourteen Old and New Testament Depictions plus a study of three figures by a tree,1

and four landscapes with dilapidated farms.2

The remaining finished works, a Venus with Three Nymphs Mourning the Dead Adonis [a] done in red chalk, a Landscape with a Saint Anne Trinity [b] and a Mary with Christ, Saint John the Baptist and His Parents Elizabeth and Zacharias [c]3 are by hands that do not show up elsewhere in the drawing book, whereas a few small sketches in chalk were presumably added by later owners. This is certainly true for the pages with calligraphic lines. The interspersed written names, Jesyn Cornilje (fol. 1r), Jan van Eeghen (fols. 1r and 100r, with the date 1738), and Jan Cornilje (fol. 3r) establish that the book was already handed down within the same family back in the 18th century.4

The group of four landscapes is closely related to the work of Abraham Bloemaert (1566-1651). Although a number of the biblical depictions also betray the influence of that Utrecht master, the landscapes are drawn in a more confident and refined hand to which six sheets in sundry museums and the art trade are also attributed. Two of these are dated 1630 and 1632 respectively.5 In the past these landscapes have been attributed to Jacob van Geel (1585-after 1638), presumably on the basis of comparable gnarled trees in his paintings, but the known drawings by him are much stiffer in composition and execution.

Meesters van het Van Eeghen Tekenboek
Venus and her nymphs mourning at the lifeless body of Adonis, first half 17th century
paper, red chalk 278 x 425 mm
Private collection, inv./ /, fol. 25 recto

attributed to Lambert Jacobsz
'Anna selbdritt' with Joseph in the background (?), c. 1620
paper, black and red chalk 278 x 425 mm
Private collection, inv./ /, fol. 28 recto

Lambert Jacobsz
Mary with Christ, John the Baptist and his parents Elisabeth and Zacharias, c. 1620
paper, pen and brush in brown, over black chalk 278 x 425 mm
Private collection, inv./ fol. 29 recto

Because of the ‘Reyer Claessoon’ that is inscribed on the front cover, for the 15 predominantly biblical scenes the name of Reyer Claesz. Suycker (c. 1590/1600 - c. 1655) has come up, but the similarity to the work of this landscape painter is slight. There are clear stylistic differences within this group of drawings, varying from sheets that are reminiscent of the mannerist style of Abraham Bloemaert and Joachim Wtewael (1566-1638), such as the Preaching of Saint John the Baptist [d], to compositions close to Pre-Rembrandtists like Pieter Lastman (1583-1633) and Jan Tengnagel (1584-1635), such as Elijah and the Worshippers of Baal [e], while still others bring to mind Italians such as Jacopo Bassano, witness the Adoration of the Shepherds [f]. Nor is the group uniform with respect to drawing technique and quality of execution and composition. However, striking characteristics such as the foliage, the gnarled trees, the stocky figures with disproportionally large heads set low on the bodies, the overly long arms with large, often gesticulating hands, and the architectural backgrounds recur in ever changing combinations, allowing the conclusion that the series is by the same hand or that it originated in the same workshop.

studio of Rombout Uylenburgh
Preaching of John the Baptist, c. 1605-1615
blue washed paper, pen in brown ink, brush in blue, heightened in white (oxidised) 278 x 425 mm
Private collection, inv./ fol. 11 recto

studio of Rombout Uylenburgh
As Elijah prays, God sends fire which burns up not only his sacrifice but also the altar itself; the people fall prostrate on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18:36-40), c. 1605-1615
paper, pen in brown ink, brush in blue 278 x 425 mm
Private collection, inv./ fol. 20 recto

studio of Rombout Uylenburgh
The adoration of the shepherds, c. 1605-1615
paper, pen in brown ink, brush in grey 278 x 425 mm
Private collection, inv./ fol. 5 recto


1 Fols. 3r (RKDimages 65327), 5r (65567), 6r (65329), 9r (65330), 10r (65331), 11r (65332), 12r (65333), 13r (65334), 17r (65335), 18r (65336), 19r (65337), 20r (65338), 21r (65339), 22r (65340), and 82v (65351).

2 Fols. 32r (RKDimages 65344), 33r (65345), 36r (65346) and 37r (65347).

3 Fols. 25r (RKDimages 65341), 28r (65342) and 29r (65343).

4 ‘Jan Cornilje’ is presumably the same as Jan Cornelje (?-?), husband of Christina Laers and father of Cornelia Cornelje (1695-1749), who in 1724 married Christiaan van Eeghen (1700-1747). Jan van Eeghen (1729-1760) was their son.

5 Fols. 32r (RKDimages 65344), 33r (65345), 36r (65346) and 37r (65347); RKDimages 108422, 236862, 238634 (art trade), 238637 (dated 1630), Kupferstichkabinett Dresden), 238630 and 238631 (one of which is dated 1632 (Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen).

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