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Object of the Month: December 2017

The Adoration of the Magi

Oil on canvas, Initialed and dated, lower right: JB 1652

Jan Boeckhorst, called Lange Jan

Flemish, c. 1604–1668

Click on the link for additional reference information.

Among the Museum & Gallery’s collection, there are both famous and unknown artists.  But what about those who fall right in the middle?  What about the artists who have active careers and equal skill to the “greats,” but never achieve the fame of their contemporaries?  One of these artists is the Flemish master, Jan Boeckhorst.

Jan Boeckhorst, nicknamed Lange Jan (“Tall John”) was born in Münster, Germany in 1604.  At seventeen, he became a canon in the Jesuit church, but at the advanced age of twenty-two (long past the standard age for training) decided to become a painter.

In the 1620s, he moved to the coastal city of Antwerp—home to some of the greatest artists of his time.  Some historians claim he studied with Jacob Jordaens while others say it was Peter Paul Rubens.  More than likely, Boeckhorst studied with Jordaens because Rubens was in Spain and England in the late 1620s. Around 1634, Boeckhorst achieved the title of Master in Antwerp’s Guild of St. Luke and worked alongside the other Flemish masters including Rubens and Anthony van Dyck.  Boeckhorst visited Italy twice to study the sixteenth-century Venetian masters such as Titian and Tintoretto and returned to Antwerp by 1640.

Throughout his later life, he painted a variety of subject matter including religious and mythological for church altarpieces and private collectors.  His artistic work ranged from paintings, designing tapestries, and illustrating for religious books.  He also contributed to the founding of the Antwerp Academy.  After a full life, he died on April 21, 1668.

Despite his active career, much of Boeckhorst’s work is unknown, unsigned or wrongly attributed, so it has been difficult to compile a comprehensive list of his art.  One of the reasons his work might be misattributed is his close work relationship with Rubens. There are many evidences of their collaboration based on the standard studio practice of the time. Boeckhorst would help touch up paintings under Rubens’ instructions and even assisted the master in large commissions. After Rubens’ death in 1640, Boeckhorst finished or even restored Rubens’ remaining works. An example of their collaboration is King David Playing the Harp at the Städel Museum.

In M&G’s collection, there are three paintings by Boeckhorst; of these The Adoration of the Magi is considered his greatest work in America.  In the lower right corner, his initials and date are painted on a rock face: JB 1652.

Boeckhorst displays a heightened attention to texture with the wafting incense, richness of the garments, and different animals.  Because of his saturated colors, graceful composition and dramatic movement, scholars consider this painting to be a masterpiece of the High Baroque style.

KC Christmas, M&G graduate assistant

 

 

Published in 2017

Flemish Baroque

In the 16th and 17th centuries, the Spanish Hapsburgs ruled present-day Belgium, then known as the Spanish Netherlands or Flanders (after its most prosperous province). Philip II reigned in an alliance with the Catholic Church that determined the religious tenor of his northern lands. The Catholic influence and doctrines oppressed many in the United Provinces (present day Netherlands) since they were predominantly Protestant. However, the Dutch Protestants soon gained their independence (beginning in 1609) from their southern counterpart in Flanders and became an independent Republic.

As a distinctly Catholic region, the Spanish Netherlands provided a wealth of opportunities for artists to find work through church commissions; therefore, the coastal city of Antwerp emerged as the leading cultural force in the first decades of the 17th century.

Although some of the greatest artists of the period made Antwerp their home, by mid-century the city had fallen into financial and political difficulty. Two major factors contributed to the economic decline of the Spanish Netherlands in the 17th century: the end of the 12-year truce with the Dutch Protestants in 1621 and the closing of Antwerp’s harbor in 1648 after the Peace of Westphalia. In spite of this decline, artistic patronage in the city continued to flourish, and Flemish painters received important commissions both at home and abroad.

M&G Objects on Loan

Every year M&G loans works from its collection to participate in various exhibitions around the world. Peruse the list below and consider visiting the exhibitions to learn more about the world of Old Masters and the museum field. Plus, you can view portions of M&G’s collection on campus here.

 

The Presentation of Christ in the Temple—Antoine de Lonhy, called the Master of the Trinity of Turin

The European Renaissance of Antoine de Lonhy

Palazzo Madama

Torino, Italy

September 23, 2021 – January 9, 2022

 

 

 

 

64 M&G paintings including:

Madonna and Child with an Angel (“Madonna of the Magnificat”)—Alessandro di Mariano Filipepi, called Sandro Botticelli (and studio)

The Adoration of the Magi—Jan Boeckhorst, called Lange Jan

Allegory on the Fall and Redemption of Man—Lucas Cranach, the Younger

Madonna and ChildCarlo Dolci

Mother of Sorrows (Mater Dolorosa)—Anthony van Dyck

Christ on the CrossPeter Paul Rubens

The Holy Family in the Carpenter ShopGerrit van Honthorst, called Gherardo delle Notti

The Holy TrinityLorenzo di Niccolò di Martino

Ecce HomoJusepe de Ribera, called Lo Spagnoletto

Treasures from the Museum & Gallery at Bob Jones University: Five Centuries of Old Master Painting

Orlando Museum of Art

September 24, 2021 – June 2022

 

Rest on the Flight to EgyptDomenico Fiasella, called Il Sarzana

Domenico Fiasella: Famous Painter

Museo Diocesano of Sarzana (Sarzana, Italy)

July 15-October 31, 2021 (on digital loan)

 

 

St. Michael the Archangel Overcoming SatanJosé Antolínez

The Heavenly ShepherdBartolomé Esteban Murillo

The Martyrdom of St. AndrewBartolomé Esteban Murillo

Ecce HomoPedro Orrente

St. Catherine of Alexandria Appearing to the Family of St. BonaventuraFrancisco de Herrera, the Elder

The AnnunciationFrancisco de Zurbarán

 

Power & Piety in 17th Century Spanish Art

Georgia Museum of Art

November 14, 2020 – November 28, 2022

 

Various M&G antiquities: including Roman glass, Jewish marriage contract, and Babylonian cuneiform cylinders.

Museum of the Bible (Washington, DC)