recto Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
1994.147
People
Master of the Egmont Albums, Flemish (active c. 1575 - 1620)
Title
The Adoration of the Shepherds; verso: The Virgin and Child in the Clouds, Surrounded by Angels
Classification
Drawings
Work Type
drawing
Date
c. 1590
Culture
Flemish
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/294226
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Black chalk on light tan antique laid paper, framing line in brown ink; verso: black chalk
Dimensions
36.7 x 26.4 cm (14 7/16 x 10 3/8 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: verso, upper right of image, brown ink: Polidoor
  • collector's mark: on former paper, in curatorial file, purple ink, stamp: L. 2799a (Hans van Leeuwen)
  • watermark: Cockatrice/gryphon/basilisk holding the arms of Basel with N below; variant of Tschudin 288 and 290 (both House of Heusler, Basel, 1585)
Provenance
Dr. J. Schouten, Delft. [C. Deirkauf, Utrecht, 1963]. Hans van Leeuwen, Amsterdam (L. 2799a, former mount), sold; [Christie's, Amsterdam, 24 November 1992, lot 69, repr.]; to Vermeer Associates Ltd., Brampton, Ontario; sold; to Harvard University Art Museums, 1994; The Kate, Maurice R. and Melvin R. Seiden Special Purchase Fund, 1994.147.
Published Text
Catalogue
Drawings from the Age of Bruegel, Rubens, and Rembrandt: Highlights from the Collection of the Harvard Art Museums
Authors
William W. Robinson and Susan Anderson
Publisher
Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2016)

Catalogue entry no. 56 by William W. Robinson:

This unidentified artist takes his nickname from six albums of drawings that belonged in the eighteenth century to John Perceval, First Earl of Egmont (1683–1748), and entered the collection of Yale University in 1957.1 The five—or six—sheets in the Yale albums by this singular draftsman provided the British art historian Philip Pouncey and others with a point of departure for attributing additional works to his distinctive hand.2 Only pen-and-ink compositions were assigned to the Egmont Master until 1964, when three black-chalk drawings, including the one now in Harvard’s collection, were ascribed to him.3 The publication of the large groups of works given to the artist in the Musée du Louvre, Paris, and the Kupferstich-Kabinett, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden, strengthened the case for an extensive oeuvre of more than fifty drawings in various media.4 However, the attribution of the chalk designs to the same hand as those executed primarily in brown ink has remained controversial, although scholars have noted compelling resemblances between figures in the chalk drawings and those in the pen-and-ink compositions.5

The steady expansion of the Master’s oeuvre has not resolved the enigma of his identity. Style and technique indicate an artist, presumably of Netherlandish origin, active at the end of the sixteenth century.6 He occasionally incorporated motifs from Albrecht Dürer’s prints into his work, but was so conversant with Italian art that he must have traveled south of the Alps. Many of the drawings—including the Harvard work, which is inscribed Polidoor (for Polidoro da Caravaggio) by a later, Dutch-speaking owner—were once attributed to Italian artists.7 Watermark evidence implies dates in the 1580s and 1590s for many of the drawings and documents a preference for papers manufactured or used in Basel and the Rhineland.8 Nicole Dacos has proposed identification of the artist as the Dutch painter Dirck Hendricksz. (known as Teodoro d’Errico in Italy, where he worked for many years), depending on merely generic similarities between the Egmont Master’s drawings and the Dutch artist’s paintings, but this has not gained acceptance.9 Finally, an engraving by Crispijn de Passe after one of the ink-and-wash drawings assigned to the Master was published in Cologne after 1594. The text on the print identifies the inventor of the composition as “Quintin d M,” but no artist of that name who was active at the end of the sixteenth century is known.10

Nearly twenty drawings in black or red chalk are ascribed to the Master of the Egmont Albums.11 About a dozen of them, including The Adoration of the Shepherds on the recto of the Harvard sheet, constitute a group of similarly finished, multifigure compositions of scenes from the life of Christ that are closely related in technique and style (Fig 1).12 The Virgin and Child in the Clouds, Surrounded by Angels on the Adoration’s verso, although sketchier in handling and a devotional image rather than a narrative composition, also relates to this group. The Adoration illustrates the artist’s adaptation of both recent and earlier sixteenth-century Italian sources: the striding, full-length figures at the left and right reflect his firsthand knowledge of works by Taddeo Zuccaro and Marco Pino, while the kneeling Saint Joseph derives from an engraving by Marcantonio Raimondi after a design by Raphael.13 The Master’s handling of the chalk closely resembles Zuccaro’s technique, and his use of chalk for compositions, which was rare in the Netherlands at this date, may also reflect his direct experience of Italian practice.14

Notes

1 Transferred from the Yale University Library to the Yale University Art Gallery in 1961: 1961.61.8, 1961.61.9, 1961.61.11, 1961.61.12, 1961.63.86, and 1961.63.87. Haverkamp-Begemann and Logan did not accept the attribution of 1961.63.86 and 1961.63.87 to the Master of the Egmont Albums, and certain other authorities concur in not accepting the attribution of 1961.63.86. See Egbert Haverkamp-Begemann and Anne-Marie Logan, European Drawings and Watercolors in the Yale University Art Gallery: 1500–1900 (New Haven, Connecticut and London, 1970), vol. 1, cats. 496–99, pp. 265–67, and cats. 640 and 641, pp. 338–99; John Marciari in Suzanne Boorsch, John Marciari, et al., Master Drawings from the Yale University Art Gallery (Sarasota, Florida: John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art; Austin, TX: Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art; New Haven, CT: Yale University Art Gallery, 2006), under cat. 26, pp. 104–6; Manfred Hoss in Thomas Ketelsen, Oliver Hahn, and Petra Kuhlmann-Hodick, eds., Zeichnen im Zeitalter Bruegels: Die niederländischen Zeichnungen des 16. Jahrhunderts im Dresdner Kupferstich-Kabinett; Beiträge zu einer Typologie (Cologne, 2011), pp. 167–69 and 172–73.

2 Haverkamp-Begemann and Logan, vol. 1, pp. 265–67.

3 J. W. Niemeijer in Hans Redeker and J. W. Niemeijer, ed., De Verzameling van Bernard Houthakker (Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum, 1964), under cat. 59, p. 26, reported that I. Q. van Regteren Altena and Karel G. Boon ascribed to the Egmont Master black chalk compositions in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; the Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt; and the Hans van Leeuwen collection, Utrecht. The last mentioned is now Harvard’s drawing. On the chalk drawings, see Hoss in Ketelsen et al., pp. 169–70 and 173–74.

4 Emmannuel Starcky, Inventaire générale des dessins du Nord: Supplément aux inventaires publiés par Frits Lugt et Louis Demonts (Paris, 1988), cats. 91–101, pp. 85–92; Gert Jan Van der Sman, “Observations on the Master of the Egmont Albums,” in Sabine Eiche, ed., Fiamminghi a Roma 1508–1608: Proceedings of the symposium held at Museum Catharijneconvent, Utrecht, 13 March 1995 (Florence, 1999), pp. 45–65, pp. 46–48; Hoss in Ketelsen et al., pp. 167–81; Stijn Alsteens in Linda Wolk-Simon, Carmen C. Bambach, et al., An Italian Journey: Drawings from the Tobey Collection; Correggio to Tiepolo (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2010), under cat. 37, p. 130.

5 Marijn Schapelhouman, Nederlandse Tekeningen omstreeks 1600 / Netherlandish Drawings circa 1600: Catalogue of the Dutch and Flemish Drawings in the Rijksprentenkabinet, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Vol. 3. (The Hague, 1987), p. 178; Van der Sman (1999), pp. 46–48; Hoss in Ketelsen et al., pp. 169 and 174.

6 Gert Jan Van der Sman, “Meester van de Egmont Albums,” Delineavit et sculpsit, no. 18 (Nov. 1997): 7–10, under cat. 2, p. 7, and Stijn Alsteens in Wolk-Simon et al., under cat. 37, p. 130, note that two drawings attributed to the Egmont Master bear autograph inscriptions by a Netherlandish hand.

7 Nicole Dacos, “Le maître des albums Egmont: Dirck Hendricksz. Centen,” Oud Holland, vol. 104, no. 2 (1990): 49–68, pp. 49–50 and 67 (n. 3); Van der Sman (1999), p. 48; Hoss in Ketelsen et al. 2011, pp. 169 and 176 (n. 18).

8 Van der Sman (1999), pp. 60 and 65 (n. 58); Hoss in Ketelsen et al. 2011, pp. 171, 173–75, and 176 (nn. 38 and 48), and 177 (n. 57). See also George Dietz, Thomas Ketelsen, Manfred Hoss, Olaf Simon, Carsten Wintermann, Timo Wolff, Ira Rabin, and Oliver Hahn, “The Egmont Master Phenomenon: X-ray Fluorescence Spectrometric and Paper Studies for Art History Research,” Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, Col. 402, no. 4 (Jan. 2012): 1501–15, pp. 1508–11, although some results of this scientific analysis, particularly the conclusion that some drawings attributed to the Egmont Master were executed in the 1560s, are, in my view, not justified by the evidence.

9 Dacos, pp. 49–68; Van der Sman (1999), p. 45; Hoss in Ketelsen et al., p. 170.

10 Starcky, cat. 100, pp. 91–92.

11 Among these are Peter Healing the Lame Man at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple, Göttingen, Kunstsammlung der Universität, H 334, as attributed to the Master of the Egmont Albums; Striding Male Figure, Dresden, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Kupferstich-Kabinett, C 7885, Ketelsen et al., no. C 7885, p. 381, repr. p. 180, pl. XXI; Unidentified Subject, Dresden, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Kupferstich-Kabinett, C 7852, Ketelsen et al., no. C 7852, p. 380, repr. p. 180, pl. XXI; Cavalry Battle with Turks, Dresden, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Kupferstich-Kabinett, C 1968-194, Ketelsen et al., no. C 1968-194, p. 388, repr. p. 180, pl. XXI; The Arrest of Christ, private collection, Toronto, promised gift to Ottawa, National Gallery of Canada, Odilia Bonebakker in Joaneath Spicer, Odilia Bonebakker, and David Franklin, Dutch and Flemish Drawings from the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (Ottawa: National Gallery of Canada; Cambridge: Harvard University Art Museums, Arthur M. Sackler Museum; Fredericton, New Brunswick: Beaverbrook Art Gallery, 2004), cat. 14, pp. 48–49. The last three listed are on blue paper. See also note 12.

12 The following narrative compositions in black or red chalk on white paper are similar in handling and style to the Harvard Adoration: The Virgin Surrounded by Six Apostles (Fig. 1), formerly Phillips Collection, New York, acquired in 2009 by the Fondation Custodia, Frits Lugt Collection, Paris, 2009-T.4, black chalk, 274 × 370 mm; Christ at Supper in the House of Simon the Pharisee, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, 42229, black chalk, 270 × 359 mm; The Delivery of the Keys to Peter, Dresden, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Kupferstich-Kabinett, C 7063, black chalk, 270 × 344 mm, Ketelsen et al., no. C 7063, p. 377, repr. p. 180, pl. XXI; Adoration of the Shepherds, Dresden, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Kupferstich-Kabinett, C 7064, 280 × 303 mm, Ketelsen et al., no. C 7064, p. 377, repr. p. 180, pl. XXI; Christ among the Apostles (fragment), Dresden, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Kupferstich-Kabinett, C 1980-354, black chalk, traces of red and blue chalk, silhouetted, 242 × 328 mm, Ketelsen et al., no. C 1980-354, p. 392, repr. p. 180, pl. XXI, repr.; Christ and the Samaritan Woman at the Well, Berlin, Staatliche Museen, Kupferstichkabinett, KdZ 18302, black chalk, 260 × 359 mm; Flight into Egypt (Return from Egypt?), Berlin, Staatliche Museen, Kupferstichkabinett, KdZ 18305, black chalk, 269 × 362 mm; Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery, Frankfurt, Städelsches Kunstinstitut, 2909, black chalk, 278 × 288 (left half), and sale, Christie’s, Amsterdam, 14 November 1988, lot 10, black chalk, 275 × 176 mm (right half); Christ Appearing to the Apostles, Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, RP-T-1961-14, black chalk, 275 × 365 mm, Karel G. Boon, Netherlandish Drawings of the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries: Catalogue of Dutch and Flemish Drawings in the Rijksmuseum (The Hague, 1978), vol. 1, cat. 516 p. 193; Christ Blessing Little Children, Paris, Musée du Louvre, 10102, red chalk, 181 × 281 mm; The Circumcision, Munich, Staatliche Graphische Sammlung, 6715, red chalk, 179 × 265 mm, Holm Bevers, Niederländische Zeichnungen des 16. Jahrhunderts in der Staatlichen Graphischen Sammlung München, Munich: Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München, 1989), cat. 41, pp. 52–53.

13 Dacos, pp. 53–54. However, her assertion that the composition as a whole was inspired by a drawing of the Adoration by Polidoro da Caravaggio is not convincing. Van der Sman (1999), pp. 53–55.

14 Schapelhouman, p. 178; Dacos, p. 53; Van der Sman (1999), p. 48. As noted by Schapelhouman, for a black-chalk drawing by Zuccaro that is similar in technique to the Harvard Adoration and other chalk compositions by the Egmont Master, see John A. Gere, Taddeo Zuccaro: His Development Studied in His Drawings, (London, 1969), cats. 227 and 228, pp. 206–7, repr. pl. 77.

Figures
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, The Kate, Maurice R. and Melvin R. Seiden Special Purchase Fund
Accession Year
1994
Object Number
1994.147
Division
European and American Art
Contact
am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu
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Publication History

Hans Redeker, De Verzameling van Bernard Houthakker, ed. J. W. Niemeijer, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam (Amsterdam, 1964), under cat. no. 59, p. 26

Tekeningen uit de Collectie Hans van Leeuwen, exh. cat. (Nijmegen, The Netherlands, 1965), cat. no. 1, p. 7

Tentoonstelling Oude Tekeningen Uit Drie Eeuwen Collectie Hans van Leeuwen, exh. cat., Museum Princessehof (Leeuwarden, The Netherlands, 5 February - 8 March 1966), cat. no. 1, n.p.

Niederländische Zeichnungen des 17. bis 19. Jahrhunderts aus der Sammlung Hans van Leeuwen Utrecht, exh. cat., Rheinland Verlag (Düsseldorf, 1968), cat. no. 97, pp. 40-42, repr. p. 67

Egbert Haverkamp-Begemann and Anne-Marie Logan, European Drawings and Watercolors in the Yale University Art Gallery: 1500-1900, Yale University Press (U.S.) (New Haven and London, 1970), vol. 1, under cat. nos. 496-499, p. 267 (n. 6).

Niederländische Zeichnungen des 17. bis 19. Jahrhunderts aus der Sammlung Hans van Leeuwen Utrecht, exh. cat., Städtisches Museum Schloss Rheydt (Rheydt, The Netherlands, 2 September - 17 October 1971), cat. no. 54, n.p.

L. C. J. Frerichs and Peter Schatborn, De Verzameling van H. van Leeuwen, exh. cat., Rijksmuseum Amsterdam (Amsterdam, 1975), cat. no. 155, p. 90, repr. fig. 1

L. Brozek-Dolezal and J. C. de Graaf-Oorthuys, Nederlandse Tekeningen uit drie Eeuwen, exh. cat., Centraal Museum Utrecht (Utrecht, The Netherlands, 29 April - 25 June 1978), cat. no. 39, pp. 28-29, repr.

Karel G. Boon, Netherlandish Drawings of the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries. Catalogue of Dutch and Flemish Drawings in the Rijksmuseum, Volume II., Government Publishing Office (The Hague, 1978), part I, under cat. no. 516, p. 193

Kunsthalle Bremen, Meisterzeichnungen aus drei Jahrhunderten: Niederländische Handzeichnungen des 17. bis 19. Jahrhunderts aus der Sammlung Hans van Leeuwen, exh. cat., Kunsthalle Bremen (Bremen, 1979), cat. no. 39, n.p., repr.

Hans Mielke, "[Review]: Netherlandish Drawings of the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries by K. G. Boon", Simiolus: Netherlands Quarterly for the History of Art (1980), vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 39-50, p. 49

Meisterzeichnungen aus Drei Jahrhunderten. Neiderländische Handzeichnungen des 17. bis 19. Jahrhunderts aus der Sammlung Hans van Leeuwen, exh. cat. (Braunschweig, 10 January - 10 February 1980), cat. no. 39, n.p., repr.

Musée d'Art et d'Histoire de Fribourg, Niederländische Meisterzeichnungen des 17. bis 19. Jahrhunderts aus der Sammlung Hans van Leeuwen, exh. cat., Musée d'Art et d'Histoire de Fribourg (Fribourg, Switzerland, 1982), cat. no. 25, n.p., repr.

Emmanuel Starcky, Inventaire Générale Des Dessins Du Nord: Supplément aux Inventaires Publiés par Frits Lugt et Louis Demonts, Ministere de la culture... (Paris, France, 1988), under cat. no. 95, p. 89

Holm Bevers, ed., Niederländische Zeichnungen des 16. Jahrhunderts in der Staatlichen Graphischen Sammlung München, exh. cat., Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München (Munich, 1989-1990), under cat. no. 41, p. 53 (n. 4)

Nicole Dacos, "Le maître des albums Egmont: Dirck Hendricksz Centen", Oud Holland, Netherlands Institute for Art History ('s Gravenhage, The Netherlands, 1990), vol. 104, no. 2, pp. 49-68, 52-56 and 64, repr. p. 53, fig. 6 (recto) and p. 60, fig. 18 (verso)

Dutch, Flemish and German Old Master Drawings, auct. cat., Christie's, Amsterdam (Amsterdam, 10 November 1997), under lot no. 28A, p. 26

Gert Jan van der Sman, "Observations on the Master of the Egmont Albums", Fiamminghi a Roma 1508-1608: Proceeding of the symposium held at Museum Catharijneconvent, Utrecht, 13 March 1995, Centro Di della Edifimi (1999), pp. 45-65, pp. 46, 53, 55, and 63 (n. 22), repr. p. 53, fig. 8

Gert Jan van der Sman, "Observations on the Master of the Egmont Albums", Fiamminghi a Roma 1508-1608: proceedings of the symposium held at Museum Catharijneconvent, Utrecht, 13 March 1995, ed. Sabine Eiche, Centro Di (Florence, 1999), pp. 45-65, pp. 46, 53, 55, and 63 (n. 22), repr. p. 53, fig. 8 (recto)

Thomas Ketelsen, Oliver Hahn, and Petra Kuhlmann-Hodick, ed., Zeichnen im Zeitalter Bruegels. Die Niederländischen Zeichnungen des 16. Jahrhunderts im Dresdner Kupferstich-Kabinett—Beiträge zu einer Typologie, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (Dresden, 2011), p. 177 (n. 55)

William W. Robinson and Susan Anderson, Drawings from the Age of Bruegel, Rubens, and Rembrandt: Highlights from the Collection of the Harvard Art Museums, exh. cat., Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2016), cat. no. 56, pp. 194-197, repr. p. 195 (recto) and p. 196 (verso); watermark p. 378

Exhibition History

Tekeningen uit de collectie Hans van Leeuwen, Waag Museum Nijmegen, Nijmegen, 11/12/1965 - 12/13/1965

Tekeningen uit de collectie Hans van Leeuwen, Museum Princessehof, Leeuwarden, 02/05/1966 - 03/08/1966

Niederlandische Zeichnungen des 17. bis 19. Jahrhunderts aus der Sammlung Hans van Leeuwen, Utrecht, Rheinisches Landesmuseum, Bonn, 09/27/1968 - 11/10/1968; Städtische Kunstgalerie Bochum, Bochum, 11/29/1968 - 01/05/1969

Niederländische Zeichnungen des 17.-19. Jahrhunderts aus der Sammlung Hans van Leeuwen, Utrecht, Städtisches Museum Schloss Rheydt, Rheydt, 09/02/1971 - 10/17/1971

De Verzameling van H. van Leeuwen, Rijksprentenkabinet, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 11/08/1975 - 02/01/1976

Nederlandse Tekeningen uit drie Eeuwen, Centraal Museum Utrecht, Utrecht, 04/29/1978 - 06/25/1978

Meisterzeichnungen aus drei Jahrhunderten, Niederländische Handzeichnungen des 17. bis 19. Jahrhunderts aus der Sammlung Hans van Leeuwen, Kunsthalle Bremen, Bremen, 10/14/1979 - 12/02/1979; Städtisches Museum, Braunschweig, 01/10/1980 - 02/10/1980; Galerie der Stadt Stuttgart, Stuttgart, 10/23/1980 - 12/06/1980

Niederländische Meisterzeichnungen des 17. bis 19. Jahrhunderts aus der Sammlung Hans van Leeuwen, Musée d'Art et d'Histoire de Fribourg, Fribourg, 04/02/1982 - 05/30/1982; Oberhausmuseum, Passau, 06/20/1982 - 07/20/1982; Städtisches Museum, Braunschweig, 09/03/1982 - 10/03/1982; Suermondt-Ludwig-Museum Aachen, Aachen, 01/16/1983 - 03/13/1983; Dürerhaus, Nuremberg, 04/14/1984 - 05/27/1984

Drawings from the Age of Bruegel, Rubens, and Rembrandt, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 05/21/2016 - 08/14/2016

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 am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu