Sale 20OM01 | Lot 15

Attributed to Hendrick van Balen the Younger and Jan Brueghel the Younger

Catalogue: Old Master and Nineteenth Century Paintings, Drawings & Sculpture
Attributed to Hendrick van Balen the Younger and Jan Brueghel the Younger

Lot Details

Lot 15
Attributed to Hendrick van Balen the Younger and Jan Brueghel the Younger
Persephone: An Allegory of Spring
Oil on panel
25 1/4 x 41 1/4 inches (64.1 x 104.8 cm)

In the intellectual atmosphere of Antwerp in the 16th and 17th centuries, allegories were a favorite subject for painting. Some of these were intended to moralize, like the Banquet Scene by Hieronymus Francken the Elder offered in this sale as lot 15. Others were essentially decorative, but with an underlay of humanistic learning that would give a well educated patron particular pleasure. Favorite subjects were the Arts, the Elements, the Months, and the Seasons, all of which offered a wide range of opportunity for invention. An example of this type is Persephone: An Allegory of Spring. Here Persephone, the Greek goddess of spring, newly returned from her winter home in the Underworld, and wearing a pearl diadem as its Queen, is seated next to her mother, Demeter, goddess of agriculture and plant life, who holds a cornucopia overflowing with flowers and a bouquet. Their two attendants carry an armillary sphere, to signify the turn of the seasons, and a torch, an emblem of Demeter's search for her daughter after her abduction by Hades. Around these four figures the earth teems with a profusion of living creatures-fish, birds, and small land animals of every sort-as if bursting with joy at Persephone's return. In the distance in an estuary at the left, a procession of sea gods makes it way to celebrate the goddess's coming, while in a mountainside at right we can make out a group of blacksmiths at a forge, a reminder of the Underworld from which their ores come, and to which Persephone must return at summer's end.

This painting is a collaboration between two artists, one a specialist in landscape, the other a figure-painter. Jan Brueghel the Younger (1601-1678) has been proposed as the landscape painter, and Hendrick van Balen the Younger (1623-1661) as the figure painter, although these attributions are by no means certain. This is, however, a classic example of an Antwerp allegorical landscape of the 17th century.


Estimate: $8,000 - $12,000

Additional Notes & Condition Report

The panel is cradled. There is a 1/4 x 1/2 inch paint loss in the leaves in the upper right. A small abrasion just to the right of this. A few horizontal splits to panel addressed with inpainting.


Any condition statement is given as a courtesy to a client, is an opinion and should not be treated as a statement of fact and Doyle New York shall have no responsibility for any error or omission. Please contact the specialist department to request further information or additional images that may be available.

No condition report? Click here to request one.

Catalogue Info

Old Master and Nineteenth Century Paintings, Drawings & Sculpture

Wed, Jun 03, 2020 at 10am EDT
View All Lots