oils on canvas, mounted to masonite, c. 17-18th C., ,
Condition:This work has had numerous restorations and repairs with inpainting seen extensively on the right and left sides. The Madonna and child are relatively untouched with with the two figures center left mostly untouched (see black light photos). The right side may have been torn off or possibly added with rough restoration seen in the last 4 inches of the canvas. The lamb has been crudely disfigured in the restoration. The stretchers are sized to the full size of the painting as it exists currently.
Size: 26 by 36 in. (65 x 90 cm.)
Provenance: This work was acquired around 1960 in an estate auction in the New York area by the current owner's late husband.
Framing: Sold framed
Note: The age of this work is suggested by the old and somewhat deteriorated or rotted canvas and the similarly rotted condition of the stretchers. The work is securely pasted down on a thin masonite type board and cannot be further examined without extensive handling by a conservator. It appears that the original stretchers were retained and mounted behind the masonite without being cut down. It is also possible that the existing example was trimmed on all four sides at some time as it is slightly reduced from the Clark example.
Rubens in the last ten years of his life operated a large workshop at his estate in Flanders. Copies of the "The Holy Family Under an Apple Tree" and the related composition "The Holy Family with Saints Francis and Anne and the Infant Saint John the Baptist" were very popular and commissioned by prominent citizens at the time. The number of these copies is estimated by scholars at between 10 to 20 of each subject.
Notes from the Clark Collection on their example:"Elizabeth kneels to support her praying son, John the Baptist, while his father Zacharias offers Jesus an apple branch. This act symbolizes Jesusís role in Christian tradition as the savior, sacrificing himself to redeem humanity from Adam and Eveís sin. Dynamic poses, sinuous curves, and bold contrasts of color are characteristics often associated with Rubens and his studio. This painting may have been completed by the artistís students as a record of the composition of an earlier altarpiece."
The Clark Collection example may be viewed at this link:https://www.clarkart.edu/Collection/3737.
Due to the extensive and often crude restoration, this work is not sold as by any one hand though the face of the Madonna, infant and Joseph and some of the hands of the principle figures reflect the style of the master who often painted these key elements of the workshop commissions leaving the assistants to do the bulk of the work. Thus this work is sold as a reasonably faithful vintage copy of the original altar work( see Rubensís original work in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna) possibly from a Rubens studio cartoon kept as a guide for subsequent commissions.
Estimates do not include 25% buyer's premium (see Terms and Conditions). NR means no reserve (minimum bid $50 unless otherwise posted). Estimates in other currencies based on conversion rates of Euro: 0.85 , British Pound 0.73, Swiss Fr 0.92. All conversion values are approximate with
the final cost determined in dollars.