Gazette Drouot logo print
Lot n° 4

Michael SWEERTS (Brussels, 1618 - Goa, 1664) The...

Estimate :
Subscribers only

Michael SWEERTS (Brussels, 1618 - Goa, 1664) The Embroidery Lesson Canvas 50,5 x 39,5 cm On the stretcher, a wax seal with the arms (fig. 1) of the Mestral family of Saint-Saphorin with a handwritten label bearing the number "111". Provenance: - Armand-François-Louis de Mestral de Saint-Saphorin (1738-1805), Swiss collector and ambassador of the King of Denmark to Poland (1765), Spain, the Netherlands, Russia, and Austria (1789). - His sale, Vienna, J.-V. Degen, 19-22 May 1806, no. 111 (fig. 2), sold as Caravaggio ("Michel Angelo Merigi unter dem Nahmen Caravaggio bekannt"). - Swiss private collection until 2011. Michael Sweerts is one of the most fascinating painters of the 17th century because of his romantic life, his independent character, and his rather atypical career for his time. Born in Brussels, son of a merchant, he visited Italy in his early years (1646-1654), stayed in Rome and frequented the Bamboccianti circle, then returned to his native region (c. 1655-1560). He then settled briefly in Amsterdam (1660-1661), then moved to France, before embarking with the Paris Foreign Mission to India. There he lived with the Portuguese Jesuit community until his death in Goa in 1664. Our composition can be compared to several genre scenes depicting one or two figures in an interior, characters from the common people: Woman spinning (canvas, 60.5 x 43 cm, Gouda museum); An old man knitting with a boy by his side, circa 1646-1650 (canvas, 43., x 34 cm, Grenoble museum); Old man and child near a brazier (New York, The Leiden collection); Old man and spinner (Nîmes museum of fine arts)... No one other than Sweerts, if not the Le Nain, knew how to capture the vulnerability of childhood or adolescence with such delicacy and freshness, and moreover he shows a real empathy for his models whatever their age. We thank Mr. Guido Jansen for confirming the attribution of the work from a high definition photograph. He suggests a date of about 1650 and links it to The Schoolroom (The Trustees of the Berkeley Will Trust, Berkeley Castle, Gloucesterhire). Mr. Duncan Bull had also confirmed the attribution after direct examination of the work.

Auction's title
Auction's date
Auction location