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Under the Roman Sun: Landscape, Brigands, and the Late Grand Tour

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The Sibyl

Willem Drost (Dutch, Amsterdam 1633–1659 Venice)

Date:
ca. 1654
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
38 1/2 x 30 3/4 in. (97.8 x 78.1 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Theodore M. Davis Collection, Bequest of Theodore M. Davis, 1915
Accession Number:
30.95.268
  • Gallery Label

    Although once a well-known Rembrandt, there is now a strong consensus that this canvas was painted about 1654–55 by his pupil, Willem Drost (1633–1659). The female type, the drawing of facial features, and the painterly execution of the costume are characteristic of Drost. The subject (which is rare in Northern Europe) and composition appear to have been inspired by a recent Italian example such as Domenichino's "Cumaean Sibyl" of 1616–1617 in the Galleria Borghese, Rome. Drost worked in Italy from 1655 until his early death.

  • Catalogue Entry

    Forthcoming

  • Provenance

    Richard Clemson Barnett, London (until 1881; his sale, Christie's, London, January 1881, no. 90, as by Rembrandt, for £273 to Lesser); [Lesser, London, from 1881]; baron Étienne de Beurnonville, Paris (by 1884–85; his sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, June 3, 1884, no. 293, as by Rembrandt, for Fr 18,100, bought in; his sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, January 30–31, 1885, no. 69, as by Rembrandt, for Fr 6,500); [Sedelmeyer, Paris, in 1902]; [T. J. Blakeslee, New York, in 1902]; [Lawrie & Co., London, by 1902–5; their sale, Christie's, London, January 28, 1905, no. 102, for £3,360, bought in]; [Trotti, Paris, 1905; sold for £6,000 to Davis]; Theodore M. Davis, Newport, R.I. (1905–d. 1915; his estate, on loan to the MMA, 1915–30)

  • Exhibition History

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Hudson-Fulton Celebration," September–November 1909, no. 101 (as by Rembrandt, lent by Theo. M. Davis, Newport, R.I.).

    Art Institute of Chicago. "Loan Exhibition of Paintings, Drawings, and Etchings by Rembrandt and His Circle," December 19, 1935–January 19, 1936, no. 11 (as by Willem Drost).

    Worcester Art Museum. "Rembrandt and His Circle," February 4–March 1, 1936, no. 12 (as by Willem Drost).

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Art of Rembrandt," January 21–?, 1942, no catalogue.

    Art Gallery of Toronto. "The Classical Contribution to Western Civilization," December 15, 1948–January 31, 1949, not in catalogue.

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Classical Contribution to Western Civilization," April 21–September 5, 1949, not in catalogue.

    Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Coe College. May 16–June 12, 1952, no catalogue?

    Decatur, Ga. Agnes Scott College. April 15–May 15, 1954, no catalogue?

    Athens, Ga. Georgia Museum of Art, University of Georgia. May 18–June 11, 1954, no catalogue.

    Columbus, Ohio. Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts. "International Masterpieces Exhibit," November 8–December 16, 1956, no. 25.

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Rembrandt/Not Rembrandt in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," October 10, 1995–January 7, 1996, no. 29.

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Age of Rembrandt: Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," September 18, 2007–January 6, 2008, no catalogue.

  • References

    Paul Eudel. L'Hôtel Drouot et la curiosité en 1883–1884. Paris, 1885, pp. 405.

    Paul Eudel. L'Hôtel Drouot et la curiosité en 1884–1885. Paris, 1886, p. 199.

    Wilhelm [von] Bode with the assistance of C. Hofstede de Groot. The Complete Work of Rembrandt. 7, Paris, 1902, pp. 17-18, 118, no. 528, pl. 528, as by Rembrandt, painted about 1667; calls it "hitherto unknown".

    Illustrated Catalogue of the Eighth Series of 100 Paintings by Old Masters. Paris, 1902, p. 40, no. 31, ill. p. 41, as by Rembrandt; dates it about 1667, and states that it was engraved in mezzotint.

    "The Sibyl, by Rembrandt: Princess Maria Louisa Josephine by Goya." Museum of Fine Arts Bulletin 3 (December 1905), p. 45, reports its loan to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, by Theodore M. Davis.

    R[oger]. E. F[ry]. "Rembrandt's Sibyl." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 1 (December 1906), pp. 162–63, reports its loan to the MMA.

    Adolf Rosenberg. Rembrandt, des Meisters Gemälde. 3rd ed. Stuttgart, 1909, p. 561, ill. p. 386, as painted about 1656; says the figural type is that of Hendrickje Stoffels.

    Wilhelm R. Valentiner. The Hudson-Fulton Celebration: Catalogue of an Exhibition Held in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1909, vol. 1, p. 102, no. 101, ill. opp. p. 102, as painted about 1656.

    Jan Veth. "Rembrandt en de Italiaansche Kunst." Oud-Holland 33 (1915), pp. 13–14, fig. 39, states that the sitter is the same as in a Rembrandt portrait of a young woman [now attributed to Willem Drost] in the National Gallery, London; believes a Sibyl by Domenichino (Galleria Borghese, Rome) served as the model for this work; agrees with Bode's date [see Ref. 1902] of about 1667.

    C[ornelis]. Hofstede de Groot. A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century. 6, London, 1916, pp. 141–42, no. 214, notes that the signature and date of 1654 mentioned in the Beurnonville sale catalogue are no longer visible.

    Wilhelm R. Valentiner. Rembrandt wiedergefundene Gemälde. Stuttgart, 1921, p. 126.

    William Howe Downes. "The Great Rembrandt Question." American Magazine of Art 14 (December 1923), p. 666.

    John C. van Dyke. Rembrandt and His School. New York, 1923, p. 64, pl. X-38, attributes it to Drost.

    D. S. Meldrum. Rembrandt's Paintings. London, 1923, p. 204, pl. CCCCXLVIII-2.

    Werner Weisbach. Rembrandt. Berlin, 1926, pp. 234, 571.

    Bryson Burroughs. "The Theodore M. Davis Bequest: The Paintings." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 26, section 2 (March 1931), pp. 15–16, ill. p. 23, tentatively as by Drost.

    A[braham]. Bredius. Rembrandt Gemälde. Vienna, 1935, p. 18, no. 438, pl. 438.

    Wilhelm R. Valentiner. "Willem Drost: Pupil of Rembrandt." Art Quarterly 2 (Autumn 1939), pp. 308, 311, fig. 15, as by Drost.

    Tancred Borenius. Rembrandt: Selected Paintings. London, 1942, p. 10, fig. 9, as by Rembrandt, painted about 1667.

    Introduction by William M. Ivins Jr. The Unseen Rembrandt. New York, 1942, pls. 23–24 (overall and detail).

    William M. Ivins Jr. "The Art of Rembrandt." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 37 (January 1942), p. 3, ill. p. 9, as by Rembrandt, painted about 1660.

    Wilhelm R. Valentiner. Letter to Harry B. Wehle. July 1, 1942, disagrees with the change in attribution from Drost to Rembrandt [see Ref. Wehle 1942].

    Harry B. Wehle. "A Gift of Paintings and Drawings." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 38 (June 1942), p. 161, states that it was recently attributed for a few years to Drost, but that it cannot possibly be by him; reattributes it to Rembrandt.

    Josephine L. Allen. "The Museum's Rembrandts." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 4 (November 1945), p. 74, as probably by Rembrandt.

    Wilhelm R. Valentiner. Letter. April 12, 1946, reiterates his conviction that it is by Drost.

    Jakob Rosenberg. Rembrandt. Cambridge, Mass., 1948, vol. 1, p. 204, 234 n. 15; vol. 2, pl. 270 (detail), as by a pupil of Rembrandt.

    Ellis K. Waterhouse. Letter to Harry B. Wehle. March 15, 1952, believes it is a Dutch picture, and certainly not by Reynolds.

    Eduard Plietzsch. Holländische und flämische Maler des XVII. Jahrhundert. Leipzig, 1960, p. 182, states that Valentiner [see Ref. 1939] has rightly attributed it to Drost.

    Jakob Rosenberg. Rembrandt: Life & Work. rev. ed. London, 1964, pp. 326–27, fig. 270 (detail).

    Hermann Kühn. "Untersuchungen zu den Malgründen Rembrandts." Jahrbuch der Staatlichen Kunstsammlungen in Baden-Württemberg 2 (1965), p. 199.

    Kurt Bauch. Rembrandt Gemälde. Berlin, 1966, p. 49, states that Falck attributes it to Drost.

    J[ohan]. Q[uirijn]. van Regteren Altena. "Review of Ref. Bauch 1966." Oud Holland 82, no. 1/2 (1967), p. 70, calls it in the type of Drost's female portraits, but states that the mantle is painted in Rembrandt's late manner.

    A[braham]. Bredius. Rembrandt: The Complete Edition of the Paintings. 3rd ed. London, 1969, p. 589, no. 438, is unsure about the attribution to Drost, but states that he "cannot see any trace of Rembrandt's own brushwork" in it either.

    Paolo Lecaldano in L'opera pittorica completa di Rembrandt. Milan, 1969, ill. p. 131, includes it among works of doubtful attribution.

    Benjamin A. Rifkin. "Rembrandt and His Circle, Part 3." Art News 68 (November 1969), p. 33.

    Calvin Tomkins. Merchants and Masterpieces: The Story of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1970, p. 172 [rev., enl. ed., 1989].

    Wolfgang Wegner. "Symposium und Ausstellung 'Rembrandt After Three Hundred Years' in Chicago." Kunstchronik 23 (February 1970), p. 33, states that though it is attributed to Drost, it is softer than his work and not likely by him.

    Werner Sumowski. "Nachträge Ortsregister." Gemälde der Rembrandt-Schüler. 5, Landau/Pfalz, 1983–[94?], p. 3089, no. 2035, ill. p. 3166, as by Drost.

    Paul Jeromack. "Être Rembrandt ou ne plus l'être." Connaissance des Arts no. 441 (November 1988), p. 108, ill. (color).

    Walter Liedtke in "Paintings, Drawings, and Prints: Art-Historical Perspectives." Rembrandt/Not Rembrandt in The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Aspects of Connoisseurship. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2, New York, [1995], pp. 106, 108–10, 112, 114–15, 119, no. 29, ill. (color), as probably painted by Willem Drost about 1654–56, possibly in Italy.

    Hubert von Sonnenburg. "Paintings: Problems and Issues." Rembrandt/Not Rembrandt in The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Aspects of Connoisseurship. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1, New York, 1995, pp. 66–67, 69, figs. 84 (color detail), 85 (x-radiograph), 86 (x-radiograph detail), as attributed to Willem Drost.

    Jonathan Bikker. "Willem Drost (1633–1658): A Rembrandt Pupil in Amsterdam, Rome, and Venice." PhD diss., Universiteit Utrecht, 2001, unpaginated[?], no. 10, ill., as "Young Woman in Fancy Dress with a Book," by Drost; dates it 1654.

    Catherine B. Scallen. Rembrandt, Reputation, and the Practice of Connoisseurship. Amsterdam, 2004, pp. 297, 375 n. 52.

    Walter Liedtke. Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, vol. 1, pp. xi, 167, 173–77, 180, no. 39, colorpl. 39; vol. 2, p. 708, as by Drost, dating to about 1654.

    Esmée Quodbach. "The Age of Rembrandt: Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 65 (Summer 2007), pp. 21, 27–29, fig. 28 (Hudson-Fulton gallery photograph).

    Dagmar Hirschfelder. Tronie und Porträt in der niederländischen Malerei des 17. Jahrhunderts. Berlin, 2008, pp. 138, 404, no. 99.



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