Kerstiaen de Keuninck (Flemish, Kortrijk ca. 1560–1632/33 Antwerp)
Oil on wood
27 1/4 x 48 in. (69.2 x 121.9 cm)
Purchase, Anonymous Gift, L. H. P. Klotz and George T. Delacorte Jr. Gifts; Rogers, Marquand, Charles B. Curtis, and The Alfred N. Punnett Endowment Funds; and Gift of Eugen Boross and Bequest of Collis P. Huntington, by exchange, 1983
Unlike Jan Brueghel the Elder, who was a leading figure in the development of realistic landscape painting, Kerstiaen de Keuninck continued the Flemish tradition of imaginary mountain scenery that descended from Patinir. This large panoramic landscape view, dominated by fantastic mountains and rock formations, is an early work of the artist and was probably painted in Antwerp. It illustrates his concern with contrasting pictorial effects—such as heavy passages of opaque paint set off against areas sketched in a very thin medium—and with bold motifs like the water spray formed by flicking the brush.
Inscription: Signed (bottom center): K D Keuninck
[Malmedé, Cologne, until 1975; sold to de Boer]; [P. de Boer, Amsterdam, 1975]; private collection, Sweden (from 1975); [P. de Boer, Amsterdam, until 1982; sold to French & Co.]; [French & Co., New York, 1982–83; sold to MMA]
Delft. Museum Prinsenhof. "Oude Kunst en Antiekbeurs," October–November 1975, no. ? [see Ref. Devisscher 1987].
Delft. Museum Prinsenhof. "Oude Kunst en Antiekbeurs," October–November 1982, no. ? [see Ref. Devisscher 1987].
New York. Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. "Fine Arts of the Netherlands," November 20–28, 1982, unnumbered cat. (lent by P. de Boer Gallery, Amsterdam).
Hans Devisscher. "Bijdrage tot de studie van de zestiende-eeuwse Vlaamse landschapschilder Kerstiaen de Keuninck." Gentse bijdragen tot de kunstgeschiedenis 26 (1981–84), pp. 103, 139, no. G7, fig. 4.
Walter A. Liedtke. Flemish Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1984, vol. 1, pp. 127–29; vol. 2, pls. 110–11 (overall and detail), dates it probably about 1600.
Hans Devisscher. "De landschapschilder Kerstiaen de Keuninck, Kortrijk 1560–Antwerpen 1632." De Leiegouw 26 (March 1984), pp. 18–19, ill.
Hans Devisscher. Kerstiaen de Keuninck, 1560–1633. Freren, Germany, 1987, pp. 27–28, 30–32, 56, 70–71, 87, 98, 147–48, no. A7, ill.
Introduction by Walter A. Liedtke inFlemish Paintings in America: A Survey of Early Netherlandish and Flemish Paintings in the Public Collections of North America. Antwerp, 1992, pp. 149–51, no. 44, ill. in color (overall and detail).
Peter C. Sutton. The Age of Rubens. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Boston, 1993, p. 459, under no. 81.
No other versions of this composition are known. Most of the motifs in the right half of the painting occur in an apparently later canvas by de Keuninck that was at Kunsthandel P. de Boer in Amsterdam in 1960. There is a more general similarity between the right side of our panel and that of de Keuninck's "Fall of Phaeton" in the Museum of Western and Oriental Art, Kiev.