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Article The Finding of Paris by Theodoor van Kessel, engraver, ca. 1620-after 1660 after a painted copy by David Teniers, the younger, painter and engraver, 1610-1690, of a lost painting by Giorgione, ca. 1477/78-1510

after a painted copy by David Teniers, the younger, painter and engraver, 1610-1690, of a lost painting by Giorgione, ca. 1477/78-1510

This is an etching of a lost painting by Giorgione entitled The Finding of Paris. David Teniers, the younger (1610-1690), painted a copy of this Giorgione when it was in the collection of the Archduke of Austria, Leopold Wilhelm (1614-1662), governor of southern (Spanish) Netherlands from 1647 to 1656, whose palace was in Brussels. In 1651, Teniers had moved to Brussels on being appointed court painter to the Archduke and keeper of his art collection.[1] In 1937, the date of Richter's book on Giorgione (cited below), Teniers' copy of Giorgione's Finding of Paris was in the collection of Signora Ch. Loeser in Florence, but its current location is not known. It was recently reproduced in The Genius of Venice: 1500-1600, but the caption mistakenly states that this painting was in the collection of the Courtauld Institute Galleries, London.[2]

Teniers copied other paintings in the collection of the Archduke, including works by Dürer, Bellini, Brueghel, Rubens, Correggio, Jan van Eyck, Holbein, Titian, and at least one other Giorgione, The Three Philosophers; but, he made over 200 pasticci, or painted copies, of late fifteenth- to seventeenth-century Italian paintings in the Archduke's collection for a special purpose. These painted copies served as the models for fourteen engravers whom Teniers engaged to make prints after them. Among the engravers were Theodoor (or Théodorus) van Kessel (ca. 1620- after 1660, possibly 1693), Jan van Troyen (ca. 1610-after 1670/71), Coryn Boel (1620-1668), Lucas Vorstermann II (1624-1666), and Pieter van Lisebetten (1630-ca.1678). Over 240 of these engravings and etchings were published in book form which comprised the highlights of the Italian paintings in the Archduke's collection. This book of etchings and engravings was first published by Teniers in 1660 as the Theatrum Pictorium with texts in Latin, French, Spanish and Flemish.[3] Two editions are in the Library of Congress, 1660 and [1684].[4]

An exhibition, David Teniers and the Theatre of Painting, was held recently at the Courtauld Institute of Art Gallery, Somerset House, London.[5] The Courtauld owns fourteen of Teniers' paintings copied from originals by other artists in Archduke Leopold Wilhelm's collection. This exhibition examines in detail the history of Teniers' Theatrum Pictorium. For most of the thirty-one catalogue entries, the original paintings formerly in the Archduke's collection, Teniers' copies after them, and the engraved prints from the Theatrum Pictorium have been reproduced for comparison, but the painting by Teniers, The Finding of Paris, after the lost Giorgione, was not included in this exhibition. From old photographic reproductions of this painting by Teniers, one can see that the Miller etching by van Kessel is a mirror-image of Giorgione's painting, The Finding of Paris, as copied by Teniers.

The Miller print was most likely a plate from one of the editions of the Theatrum Pictorium, but the edition from which it came has yet to be discovered.[6] A comparison with the impression in the Antwerp edition of 1660 in the Library of Congress and the Miller print does confirm that both etchings were made from the same plate. The plate measurements are identical, though the sheet size of the impression in the Antwerp edition is slightly larger than the Miller version. The 1660 Antwerp edition impression is more crisply defined than the Miller etching which appears to have been more heavily inked. Because of this, the facial expressions of the figures in the impression in the Antwerp 1660 edition have a softer, more expressive quality, while the expressions are more harsh and heavy in the Miller version. Also, many of the details of the landscape are clearer in the impression in the Antwerp edition; the heavier inking of the Miller plate has obscured some of the finer details in the print.

The plate by van Kessel in the Antwerp edition of 1660 includes an inscription giving the measurements of the original painting in the bottom margin beneath the infant: "8 Alta. 11 Lata." Though barely discernible, the measurement inscription is still visible in the Miller etching, but it appears to have been removed from the print, as the surface of the paper in the bottom margin is slightly lighter in color in this area. Though it is unclear why it would have been removed, it appears that the inscription on the Miller print was lightly rubbed or scraped away in this area because, under heavy magnification, one can see a few paper fibers lifted away from the surface. There is a tiny circular area in the bottom margin, beneath the right foot of the recorder player, also slightly lighter in color than the paper around it, which may indicate that some other notation was also removed from the Miller etching.

Plate numbers did not appear on the images in the 1660 edition of the Theatrum Pictorium, only the measurements of the original paintings after which the prints were copied. Beginning with the second edition of 1673, however, plate numbers were added to the bottom margin of all the images. The plate numbers were placed to the right of center in the bottom margin between the measurements of the original painting and the printmaker's name, and the same plate numbers were used in all subsequent editions of the Theatrum Pictorium. In the case of The Finding of Paris, the plate number was "21," and it was placed in the bottom margin beneath the right foot of the recorder player, where it must have been placed originally in the Miller print. It is not now possible to determine the plate number of the Miller print, even under magnification, but it seems likely that it was once numbered plate 21, and that this number has also been removed from the print. If a number "21" did once appear on this print, the Miller etching probably came from a later edition of the Theatrum Pictorium, perhaps the 1673 edition, or a later edition.

The subject of this Miller etching is a story from mythology: the finding of the infant Paris after his abandonment on Mount Ida. George Martin Richter, the author of a book on Giorgione (cited below), suggests that the subject of Giorgione's painting "is probably derived from Virgil," but the story of the infant Paris is not described in Virgil. The myth of the infant Paris is given in The Library by Apollodorus, a Greek grammarian who lived in the second century B.C. In Book III, chapter XII, section 5, the story of the birth of Paris and his abandonment is described: Paris was the son of King Priam and Queen Hecabe of Troy. Before his birth, Hecabe dreamed her son would be the cause of the destruction of Troy. Aesacus, a diviner, advised the king and queen to leave the child exposed in the wilderness on Mount Ida, and the child was given to a servant, Agelaus, to do as the king wished. After several days, Agelaus returned to find the child had survived because a bear had nursed him in the wilderness. Agelaus took the child home with him, named him Paris, and brought him up as his own son. Paris grew up as a shepherd and protected his father's flocks, and he fell in love with Oenone, a nymph on Mount Ida. Later, Paris was asked by Hermes to decide which of the goddesses was the fairest -- Hera, Athena, or Aphrodite -- and to present that goddess with a golden apple. Since Aphrodite had promised Paris the most beautiful woman in the world -- Helen -- as his wife, Paris chose Aphrodite as the fairest goddess. His love for Helen and his pursuit of her was the cause of the Trojan War.[7]

In the Miller etching several figures in the foreground surround the infant Paris who is lying in the grass near a stream. On the left are two shepherds, one of whom walks with a staff while the other points to the child. An old man sits against a tree trunk at the lower right and plays a recorder.[8] A woman sits on a hillock above the old man and she gazes down toward the baby. In the middle distance, a group of figures rests by the stream. At the upper left, two other figures are beneath the trees in front of a group of thatched buildings. They appear to be watching over a flock of sheep grazing just to the right of them.[9]

See another print in the Miller collection from the Theatrum Pictorium, 13/L. It will be helpful to compare this print by van Troyen to van Kessel's The Finding of Paris to see how the dimensions and plate number were placed in the bottom margin of the print in later editions of the Theatrum Pictorium, since similar inscriptions were apparently removed from The Finding of Paris.

About the Artists

Theodoor van Kessel, engraver, ca. 1620-after 1660
In an exhibition, David Teniers and the Theatre of Painting, at the Courtauld Institute of Art Gallery, 2006-2007, the author of one of the essays, Margret Klinge, on page 31, mentions van Kessel as one of the engravers of the Theatrum Pictorium. She gives his full name as Theodoor van Kessel and his life dates as ca. 1620-after 1660. Bénézit gives a different spelling to the name and a very much later death date: Théodorus van Kessel, a Dutch engraver, who was born about 1620 and who died in 1693, and who was established in Antwerp by 1652. Bénézit also states that in 1679, a Theodor Andreas van Kessel, engraver, was in the guild at Antwerp, and he was a guild inspector in 1688. See Bénézit for examples of his signature.

David Teniers, the younger, painter and engraver, 1610-1690
David Teniers, the younger, was a well known 17th-century Flemish artist who was a genre painter and engraver. He was born in Antwerp in 1610 and died in Brussels in 1690. He was the eldest of four sons of David Teniers, the elder (1582-1649), a painter and engraver, with whom he first studied. Very little is known about the younger Teniers' early life. He was received as a master in the Antwerp guild of St. Luke in 1632-1633. In 1637, he married Anna Brueghel, daughter of Jan Brueghel of Velours, who brought wealth and, above all, a close friendship with Rubens, whose second wife, Hélène Fourment, was the godmother of their eldest son, David Teniers III. In 1644, David Teniers, the younger, was named dean of the guild of St. Luke. Teniers was known above all for his genre paintings, at first smokey tavern scenes in the1630s which closely resembled the work of Adriaen Brouwer (1605/06-1638). By the 1640s, he painted more open-air scenes of country life with peasants reveling at fairs, often with an inn in the background.

Archduke Leopold Wilhelm was named governor of the Low Countries in 1646 and he was a powerful protector to Teniers, who began working for the archduke in 1647. By 1651, the archduke appointed Teniers painter to the court, chamberlain, and curator of his painting gallery, which housed a magnificent collection. Teniers purchased Italian paintings from the collection of Charles I for the archduke's collection, and he painted at least eight different views of the archduke's galleries. Most importantly, Teniers produced a catalogue of the archduke's paintings which were copied by various engravers. He himself painted copies of many of the Italian paintings which were used as models for the engravers. The illustrated catalogue was published in 1660 under the title Theatrum Pictorium.

The archduke often sent the work of Teniers to other sovereigns and recommended his work to them. King Philip IV of Spain commissioned many paintings by Teniers, and Prince William II of Orange and Christina of Sweden were also great collectors of his paintings. Don Juan of Austria, the natural son of King Philip IV, succeeded Archduke Leopold Wilhelm as governor of the Low Countries from 1656 to 1659. Also an enthusiast of the work of Teniers, Don Juan confirmed all of his court positions and commissions and even became his student.

After 1650, Teniers left Antwerp for Brussels. In 1656, his wife Anna died but, in the same year, he married Isabelle de Fren, daughter of André de Fren, secretary to the Council of Brabant. In 1662, he bought from Jan-Baptist Broekoven and Hélène Fourment the chateau of Drij Toren (Three Towers), at Perk, near Vilvoorde, which he made his summer residence. In 1663, Teniers was ennobled and, in the same year he took an active part in the foundation of an art academy in Antwerp to which he was named its first director. Teniers, who died at age 80 in 1690, was a prolific painter. He produced perhaps over a thousand works, his late paintings being more pastoral and idyllic in nature. His second wife died in 1683, and the end of his life was troubled by illness and legal disputes within the family, which were not settled until after his death.[10]

Giorgione, history painter, portraitist, and landscapist with figures, 1477/78-1510
Giorgione was a 16th-century painter of the Venetian School. He was born in either 1477 or 1478 in Castelfranco and he died in Venice in 1510. Very few works are attributed to him with absolute certainty, perhaps less than twenty, and many have been lost. Said to have been self-taught, it is believed he was much influenced by Leonardo's technique of sfumato, a veiled mistiness or atmospheric quality where landscape and sky meet on the horizon. He was a fine colorist and his own work is characterized by a "Giorgionesque glow." Giorgione studied with Giovanni Bellini (1430-1516). Titian (ca. 1488-1576) and Palma il Vecchio (ca. 1480-1528) were thought to have been fellow students under Bellini, though Titian probably studied with Giorgione also. Certainly Giorgione and Titian worked together on paintings and authorship of one or the other has varied over the centuries. Some of Giorgione's most famous paintings (though some are now attributed in part to Titian) are: the Sleeping Venus in Dresden; The Three Philosophers in Vienna; The Tempest in Venice; and the Concert Champêtre in the Louvre in Paris.[11]

Notes

  1. See biography External Link of Teniers online which describes his role as court painter to the Archduke and Don John of Austria, the Archduke's successor. See an image of the Archduke and his collection, External Link painted by Teniers in 1651, now in Petworth House, Sussex, England. [back to article]
  2. The Genius of Venice: 1500-1600, edited by Jane Martineau and Charles Hope. London: Royal Academy of Arts, 1983, p. 47, fig. 22. [back to article]
  3. The finest source on Teniers and the Theatrum Pictorium is a recent exhibition catalogue, David Teniers and the Theatre of Painting, held at the Courtauld Institute Gallery of Art, in 2006-2007, cited above, which was edited by Dr. Ernst Vegelin van Claerbergen. This catalogue, especially the essay of the same title by Margret Klinge, is a wonderful source for the history and background of Teniers and his role at the court of Archduke Leopold Wilhelm in Brussels, and the Theatrum Pictorium which Teniers published himself in 1660. The names of the fourteen engravers of the Theatrum Pictorium and the number of prints contributed by each are given on p. 31; the placement of the plate numbers on the plates after the second edition of 1673, in relation to the dimensions and printmakers' names, is given on p. 35; the total number of prints in the Theatrum Pictorium (243) in relation to Archduke Leopold Wilhelm's overall collection of Italian paintings (517) and Dutch, Flemish, and German paintings (880), is given on p. 21. The following information about the painted copy by Teniers after the lost painting by Giorgione, The Finding of Paris -- that it is not in the Courtauld; that the caption about it in The Genius of Venice is mistaken; that plate 21 was the number given to The Finding of Paris, beginning with the second edition of the Theatrum Pictorium; and, that the plate number 21 was placed in the bottom margin of the print beneath the right foot of the recorder player - is courtesy of Dr. Ernst Vegelin van Claerbergen, Head of the Courtauld Galleries, 17 July 2007. [back to article]
  4. Schilder-thooneel van David Teniers, Gheboottigh van Antwerpen Schilder ende Camer-diender des Doorlste. Princen Leopol. Gvil. Arts-hertogh.... Antwerp: H. Aaertssens, 1660. Rare Book and Special Collections. LC call number: ND615.T3; and Theatrum Pictorium Davidis Teniers antverpiensis pictoris serenissimorum principum Leopoldi Guillelmi archiducis Austriae... Antwerp: Henricum & Cornelium Verdussen, [1684]. General Collections [not yet located]. LC call number: ND615.T4. [back to article]
  5. David Teniers and the Theatre of Painting, was held at the Courtauld Institute of Art Gallery, Somerset House, London, 19 October 2006-21 January 2007. LC call number: ND673.T3A4 2006. [back to article]
  6. The curators of the Courtauld exhibition mention at least five editions: 1660, 1673, 1684, ca. 1700, and 1755. See p. 32. [back to article]
  7. The information about the story of the infant Paris as given in Apollodorus is courtesy of David Shive, Washington, DC, 27 February 2007. The edition used as the source here is Apollodorus: The Library, with an English translation by Sir James George Frazer, in two volumes. Vol. II. London: William Heinemann; New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1931, pages 45 and 47. For more information and images of Paris, see the Greek Mythology Link External Link Web site compiled by Carlos Parada. [back to article]
  8. Nicholas S. Lander, in Recorder Iconography, External Link under David II Teniers, mentions the similarity of the lost painting, The Finding of Paris to The Tempest by Giorgione in the Galleria dell'Accademia in Venice, which is thought by some scholars to represent Paris as an infant, the storm alluding to the destruction of Troy. Nicholas Lander describes the instrument the old man plays as a "near-cylindrical, tenor-sized recorder...." [back to article]
  9. For a discussion of the lost Giorgione painting, The Finding of Paris, the painted copy by Teniers, the engraved copy by van Kessel, and related works, see George Martin Richter, Giorgio da Castelfranco called Giorgione. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1937, pp. 76-77, 210-211, 322 (no. 1660, 21), and plates VII (Teniers' copy in the Loeser collection, Florence) and LIX (fragment of a painting in the Szépmüvészeti Muzeum in Budapest, which may or may not now be attributed to Giorgione, that was possibly once part of the painting, The Finding of Paris, formerly in the Archduke Leopold Wilhelm's collection). General Collections. LC call number: ND623.G5R5. See also Teriso Pignati, Giorgione. Milan: Alfieri, 1978, p. 149, cat. C3, and plates 224, 227 and 228. General Collections. LC call number: ND623.G5P54. [back to article]
  10. Bénézit was a source for the life and work of Teniers but further information on Teniers, which includes a bibliography, is available in an article, "David Teniers II," by Hans Vlieghe in Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online External Link (subscription only). [back to article]
  11. The entry on Giorgione in Bénézit (2006, English edition) was the source for this biographical information. [back to article]

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  • The Finding of Paris by Theodoor van Kessel, engraver, ca. 1620-after 1660 after a painted copy by David Teniers, the younger, painter and engraver, 1610-1690, of a lost painting by Giorgione, ca. 1477/78-1510

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TheFinding of Paris by Theodoor van Kessel, engraver, -after 1660 after a painted copy by David Teniers, the younger, painter and engraver, 1610 to 1690, of a lost painting by Giorgione, ca. 1477/78-1510. Web.. https://www.loc.gov/item/ihas.200182950/.

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TheFinding of Paris by Theodoor van Kessel, engraver, -after 1660 after a painted copy by David Teniers, the younger, painter and engraver, 1610 to 1690, of a lost painting by Giorgione, ca. 1477/78-1510. [Web.] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/ihas.200182950/.

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TheFinding of Paris by Theodoor van Kessel, engraver, -after 1660 after a painted copy by David Teniers, the younger, painter and engraver, 1610 to 1690, of a lost painting by Giorgione, ca. 1477/78-1510. Web.. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/ihas.200182950/>.