Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
Deodat van der Mont, Dutch (1582-1644)
Previously attributed to Michiel Coxcie, Netherlandish (Mechelen 1499 - 1592 Mechelen)
Lamentation with Saint Francis of Assisi
Other Titles
Former Title: Anointing the Dead Christ
Work Type
c. 1623
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Brown ink, squared in graphite, on cream antique laid paper
31.1 x 22.8 cm (12 1/4 x 9 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: lower center, on paper, brown ink, in artist's hand: IESVS NA / ZARENVS
  • inscription: lower edge, at each square, graphite: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
  • inscription: lower right, graphite: Mi Cocki [?]
  • inscription: verso, upper left, graphite: au
  • watermark: Horn in a shield. Related to Heawood 2640 (Antwerp).
Paul J. Haldeman, Ridgeland, Mississippi, gift; to Harvard University Art Museums, 2002
Published Text
Drawings from the Age of Bruegel, Rubens, and Rembrandt: The Complete Collection Online
Multiple authors
Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2017–)

Entry by William W. Robinson, completed May 13, 2019:

Deodat van der Mont was almost certainly Peter Paul Rubens’s first pupil and, as the 17-century biographer Cornelis de Bie attested, also his “best friend.”1 In testimony recorded in 1628, Rubens declared that Van der Mont was well advanced in his training by 1600, when he traveled with his master to Italy. After they returned to Antwerp in 1608, Van der Mont set up his own workshop in the city. De Bie characterized Van der Mont as a learned painter and polymath who was ennobled by Duke Wolfgang Wilhelm of the Palatinate-Neuburg (1578–1653) for his “great understanding of the noble art of painting, geometry, astrology, and other branches of knowledge.” De Bie cited four pictures by Van der Mont hanging in Antwerp religious institutions in the 17th century, adding that works by him graced “many other churches in Flanders, Hainault, Artois, and . . . Italy.”2 Very few, however, are known today.3

The Harvard work is a composition study for the signed and dated Lamentation with St. Francis of Assisi (1623) in the church of Onze-Lieve-Vrouw-ten-Hemelopneming (Our Lady of the Assumption) in Munsterbilzen in the Belgian province of Limburg (Fig. 1).4 It is squared in graphite, and the cells of the grid are numbered 1 through 18 along the sheet’s bottom edge. The squaring and high degree of finish indicate that the study represents an advanced stage in the development of the design and might even have served as the modello for transfer and enlargement to the canvas.

Although fully resolved and precisely rendered, the drawing differs in several significant details from the painting. In the oil painting, Van der Mont cropped the composition all around and eliminated the three figures at the upper left of the drawing as well as the head of the man adjusting his spectacles. In the study, the disciple kneeling at the left crosses his arms over his chest and glances upward, while in the finished work he looks straight ahead and reaches with his left hand toward Jesus’ limp forearm. With his right hand, he holds the cloth sheet with the words “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews” in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, although only parts of the texts are decipherable. In the drawing, the much smaller cloth sheet, inscribed only IESVS NAZARENUS, appears with other instruments of the Passion at the lower center. Finally, Van der Mont replaces St. Francis’s curly mop of hair at the lower right in the study with a tonsure in the painting. The changes to the composition and details between the drawing and painting affirm that the Harvard sheet is a study for, not a copy after, the picture.5

The Harvard work is the only securely documented drawing by Van der Mont. More than a dozen others have been ascribed to him, including a pen-and-ink model sheet with 12 heads of Turks copied from woodcuts by Jost Amman; the sheet bears a plausible old attribution to Deodate del Mondt on its verso.6

1 Cornelis de Bie, Het gulden cabinet van de edel vry schilderconst (Antwerp: Joannes Meyssens,
1662), p. 135.

2 De Bie, Het gulden cabinet, pp. 135–36.

3 Hans Vlieghe, “Monte, Deodaat [Déodat; Deodatus] del,” Oxford Art Online, Oxford University Press, 2003, (accessed March 3, 2018); William W. Robinson, “A Drawing by Deodat van der Mont, Rubens’ First Pupil and ‘Best Friend,’” Master Drawings 52 (2014): 388 and 391 (nn. 10–11); Jonas Slegers, “De meester en de leerling: Deodatus Van der Mont (Sint-Truiden 1582–Antwerpen 1644) en Thomas Morren (Sint-Truiden 1584–Hasselt 1661): Limburgse 17de-eeuwse schilders binnen een Antwerpse context,” unpublished research report, 2014, pp. 13–35, 39–43. I am grateful to Jonas Slegers for sharing a PDF of his report.

4 Robinson, “A Drawing by Deodat van der Mont,” p. 388, Fig. 1; Slegers, “De meester en de leerling,” pp. 23–25. The early history of the painting is unknown. Slegers suggests a connection to the Antwerp Jesuits.

5 Robinson, “A Drawing by Deodat van der Mont,” pp. 388–90.

6 Staatliche Graphische Sammlung, Munich, 41635. Wolfgang Wegner, Kataloge der Staatlichen Graphischen Sammlung München: Die niederländischen Handzeichnungen des 15.–18. Jahrhunderts, 2 vols. (Berlin: Gebr. Mann Verlag, 1973), vol. 1, no. 518, p. 74; vol. 2, pl. 119; Slegers, “De meester en de leerling,” pp. 6–7. For drawings less securely assigned to Van der Mont, see Anne-Marie Logan, “A Noble Genoese Lady: By or Attributed to Rubens?” in Munuscula Amicorum: Contributions on Rubens and His Colleagues in Honour of Hans Vlieghe, 2 vols., ed. Katlijne van den Stighelen (Turnhout: Brepols, 2006), vol. 1, pp. 249–58; Jeremy Wood, “Rubens and Raphael: The Designs for the Tapestries in the Sistine Chapel,” in Munuscula Amicorum: Contributions on Rubens and His Colleagues in Honour of Hans Vlieghe, 2 vols., ed. Katlijne van der Stighelen (Turnhout: Brepols, 2006), vol. 1, pp. 273–75; Slegers, “De meester en de leerling,” pp. 9–12.

Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of Paul J. Haldeman
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art
The Harvard Art Museums encourage the use of images found on this website for personal, noncommercial use, including educational and scholarly purposes. To request a higher resolution file of this image, please submit an online request.
Preparatory for a painting by Deodat van der Mont in the Onze-Lieve-Vrouw Tenhemelopnemingskerk (Church of Our Lady of the Assumption) in Munsterbilzen, Belgium.
Publication History

William W. Robinson, "A Drawing by Deodat van der Mont, Rubens' First Pupil and 'Best Friend'", Master Drawings, vol. 52, no. 3, pp. 387-391, pp. 388, 390, repr. p. 389 as fig. 3

Exhibition History

Prints and Drawings from the Time of Holbein and Breugel, Busch-Reisinger Museum, Cambridge, 11/21/1985 - 01/12/1986

Subjects and Contexts

Dutch, Flemish, & Netherlandish Drawings

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of European and American Art at