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Discovery: Jacobus Vrel at the Custodia Foundation

Published on , by Carole Blumenfeld

A woman of indefinable age, seen from behind, leans against a window where a child’s face stealthily appears in the half-darkness. She seems to be trying to communicate with the little girl by placing her hand on the windowpane, as a man of God would do.

Jacobus Vrel (1617-1662), Woman Greeting a Child at a Window, oil on panel, 45.7... Discovery: Jacobus Vrel at the Custodia Foundation

Jacobus Vrel (1617-1662), Woman Greeting a Child at a Window, oil on panel, 45.7 x 39.2 cm/17.99 x 15.43 in, Paris, Custodia Foundation.

A woman of indefinable age, seen from behind, leans against a window where a child’s face stealthily appears in the half-darkness. She seems to be trying to communicate with the little girl by placing her hand on the windowpane, as a man of God would do. The contrast between the bare interior, illuminated by artificial light whose source cannot be determined, and the dark corridor where the child is, instills doubt. The cracks in the glass, and the chair looking as if it is about to topple over, indicate that this is not an ordinary scene of everyday Dutch life. The viewer must imagine the story of this ghostly figure and its author. A single drawing and 49 paintings on wood are signed “J. Frel”, “Vrel”, “Vrell”, “Vrelle”, “Veerlle” or “Jacobüs Vreel”. Only one has a date, 1654: The Woman in the Window (Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum) . A 1659 document attests that three paintings by "Iaconus Frell" were in the collection of Archduke Leopold Wilhelm, Governor of the Netherlands, for whom artist and curator David Teniers the Younger (1610–1690) drew up a Catalogus…
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