Gerson Digital : Poland


6.4 Pre-Rembrandtists and Caravaggists

The Pre-Rembrandtists and the followers of Caravaggio, two groups of artists who introduced and developed the Baroque storia formula within Dutch painting, are also well represented in Poland. There are paintings by Rembrandt’s teacher Pieter Lastman, The Pastoral Idyll in Gdańsk [1] and The Feast of Esther in Warsaw [2],1 and pictures by Jan Tengnagel and Nicolaes Moeyaert in Warsaw and in Łódź [3-5].2 Rembrandt’s studio mate Jan Lievens is the creator of two early – and surprisingly Caravaggesque – paintings from about 1625: A Boy Blowing on Coals and A Boy Lighting a Torch in the Museum of King Jan III’s Palace at Wilanów [6-7].3

Pieter Lastman
Pastoral scene (Granida and Daifilo), dated 1624
panel, oil paint 53 x 47 cm
lower center : PL / 1624
Gdańsk, Muzeum Narodowe w Gdańsku, inv./ MNG/SD/282/M

Jan Tengnagel
Lot and his family fleeing Sodom (Genesis 19 : 15-18)
panel, oil paint 73.5 x 105 cm
Warsaw, Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie, inv./ M.Ob.175 MNW

Pieter Lastman
The anger of Ahasverus; Haman begging Esther for mercy (Esther 1:10), 1618 or 1619
panel, oil paint 52 x 78 cm
upper center : P. Lastman fecit A. 161[8/9]
Warsaw, Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie, inv./ M.Ob.558

Claes Moeyaert
Raising of Lazarus (Jn 11, 41–44), dated 16.4, probably 1654
panel, oil paint 83 x 118 cm
lower right : CL M f. 16...4.
Warsaw, Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie, inv./ M.Ob.557 MNW

Claes Moeyaert
Joseph's blood-stained coat is brought and shown to Jacob (Genesis 37:32-35), dated 1624
panel, oil paint 155 x 132 cm
lower right : CL Mooyaert f./A.1624.
Łódź, Muzeum Sztuki w Lodzi, inv./ MS/SO/M/80

Jan Lievens
Young man with a pipe, blowing on glowing coals, c. 1625
panel, oil paint 82 x 64 cm
upper left : J.Liviús
Wilanów (Warschau), Muzeum Pałacu Króla Jana III w Wilanowie, inv./ Wil.1525

Jan Lievens
Boy lighting a torch, allegory of sight, c. 1625
panel, oil paint 82 x 64 cm
upper right : J.Livius
Wilanów (Warschau), Muzeum Pałacu Króla Jana III w Wilanowie, inv./ Wil. 1526

Northern Caravaggesque movement is further represented by compositions by Jan van Bijlert [8], Jan ter Borch [9], Jan Jansz. van Bronchorst [10] and Matthias Stom [11] in Warsaw4 and the Denial of Saint Peter from Dirck van Baburen’s workshop [12].5 A very interesting painting attributed to Matthias Stom, the Incredulity of Thomas, was signalled in St. Mary Magdalen’s church at Maszków [13].6

Jan van Bijlert
At the procuress'
canvas, oil paint 115 x 160 cm
upper right : JvBijlert
Warsaw, Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie, inv./ M.Ob.1642 MNW

attributed to Jan ter Borch
The supper at Emmaus
canvas, oil paint 123 x 180 cm
Warsaw, Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie, inv./ M.Ob.2368 MNW

possibly Johan van Bronchorst or circle of Jan van Bijlert
Two young women and two young men making music, 1635-1645 or 1650-1656
canvas, oil paint 103.5 x 144.5 cm
Warsaw, Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie, inv./ M.Ob.532 MNW

Matthias Stom
Saint Peter in prayer, seated at a table by an oil lamp, c. 1633-1640
canvas, oil paint 104 x 128.5 cm
Warsaw, Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie, inv./ M.Ob.1890

follower of Dirck van Baburen
The denial of St. Peter
canvas on panel, oil paint 87 x 105 cm
Kraków, Muzeum Narodowe w Krakowie, inv./ MNK ND 850

Matthias Stom
Thomas touching the wound in Christ's side, c. 1632-1639
canvas, oil paint 150 x 110 cm
Maszków, St. Mary Magdalen’s church (Maszków)

Hendrick ter Brugghen
Pilate washing his hands (in innocence), c. 1618-1619
canvas, oil paint 100 x 128 cm
Lublin, Muzeum Lubelskie w Lublinie, inv./ S/Mal/1611 /MI

Polish collections boast two important paintings by Hendrik ter Brugghen, an early Pilate Washing His Hands in the Regional Museum in Lublin [14], and a late King David Playing the Harp in Warsaw [15].7 Wouter Crabeth from Gouda painted a dramatically Caravaggio-inspired theme in Card Sharps, while Theodor Rombouts treated a similar subject in a more elegant manner (both in Warsaw) [16-17]. Pendant paintings showing Bacchus and Ariadne from ca. 1620 in Poznań have been attributed both to the Caravaggionist Paulus Bor and to the Haarlem classicist Salomon de Bray [18-19].8 Warsaw Museum owns a very fine painting by the latter’s brother Jan de Bray – Achilles among the Daughters of Lycomedes [20].9

Hendrick ter Brugghen
King David playing the harp, surrounded by four angels, dated 1628
canvas, oil paint 150 x 190 cm
lower left : 1628
Warsaw, Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie, inv./ M.Ob.529 MNW

Theodoor Rombouts
Card players, c. 1636
canvas, oil paint 167.5 x 235.5 cm
lower right : Theodor Rombouts
Warsaw, Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie, inv./ M.Ob.575

Wouter Crabeth (II)
Young courtisane playing cards with two men at a table, an old procuress in the background, after 1626
canvas, oil paint 134.7 x 169 cm
left center : WCRABETH.F. (WC in ligature)
Warsaw, Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie, inv./ M.Ob.531 MNW

attributed to Paulus Bor
Bacchus, c. 1630
canvas, oil paint 149 x 106 cm
Poznań, Muzeum Narodowe w Poznaniu, inv./ MNP MO 883

attributed to Paulus Bor
Ariadne, c. 1630
canvas, oil paint 149 x 106 cm
Poznań, Muzeum Narodowe w Poznaniu, inv./ MNP MO 882

Jan de Braij
Achilles discovered among the daughters of Lycomedes, dated 1664
canvas, oil paint 129 x 179 cm
bottom left of the middle : JDBraij. 1664.
Warsaw, Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie, inv./ M.Ob.530


1 Klessmann 1988, cat. no. 1.

2 Jacob Despairing over Joseph's Bloody Coat by Moeyaert was a long–term deposit of the Museum of Art in Łódź in the National Museum in Warsaw, and returned in 2012: Tümpel 1974, part I, p. 83; part II, no. 43, fig.107; Michałkowa 1992, no. 91; Kacprzak 2003, cat. no. I.22, pp. 112–114.

3 Klessmann 1979, cat. nos. 6–7; Mieleszko 2005, cat. nos. 55–56.

4 These and other works of both northern and southern European Caravaggionists in: Kilian/Ziemba 1996.

5 Dec/Wałek 2010, p. 487.

6 Majoch 2006–2007; after the conservation treatment the painting’s attribution was confirmed and it will be published in a monograph prepared by Claudio Malice from the Accademia di Belle Arti de L’Aquila.

7 Klessmann 1988, cat. no. 3; Monkiewicz 1996.

8 Nicolson 1979; Blankert 1999, cat. nos. 21, 22.

9 Blankert 1999, cat. no. 57; Folga-Januszewska/Ziemba 2004, cat. no. 76.

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