Painter of Spanish Netherlands circa 1600 - Circle of Joos van Winghe (1542/44 - 1603).
Our large painting shows a subject very popular among artists since the Middle Ages. David has laid down the attributes of power (scepter and crown) on a table in front of him. He is kneeling down and playing the harp. He is surrounded by numerous characters who are assisting him in his concert.
Decisively breaking with Alberti’s theory (Leon Battista Alberti 1404-1472 is a philosopher, mathematician and art theorist), this Mannerist composition is deliberately free from any search for realism or exact proportions. Colors collide, drapery abounds and the characters’ movements are exaggerated as in pantomimes. The artist seems to have invented a language of the body and the hands.
David embodies both the divinely inspired biblical artist and the renowned King who gave the Promised Land imperial dimensions. Making the harp sound is also fighting the moral wanderings which are threatening the kingdom.
Since the Middle Ages, David has been the archetypal christian king, both wise and powerful, pious and fair, the guardian of harmony within his kingdom. The painting conveys a quiet atmosphere; all the characters seem to be in communion with the King. The Tables of the Law set above the door in the background underline the pious dimension of the scene.
An identical composition with a few variations and of smaller dimensions is kept in the museum of the Convent of Saint Catherine in Utrecht; it is registered as a work after Joos van Winghe.
Oil on its canvas 51,57 x 68,50 in. (the canvas) – 58,66 x 75,98 in. with the frame
Joos (or Jodocus) van Winghe (Brussels 1542/44 – Frankfurt 1603)
was a Mannerist painter and draftsman from the Spanish Netherlands. Nothing is known about his birth and early youth. Painter and art historian Carel van Mander (1548-1606) recounted key moments of van Winghe’s life in The book of Painters , published in 1604.
Van Winghe perfected his art during his stay in Italy (between 1564 and 1568), in Rome but mostly in Parma where Alexander Farnese was fond of his work. During that period of time, he probably met Bartholomeus Spranger who also worked for the Farnese family. In 1568, on his way back to Brussels, he traveled through France and probably stopped in Paris where he discovered the work of the Fontainebleau School. When he returned to Brussels, he became the official painter to the newly appointed governor of the Spanish Netherlands, Alexander Farnese, his protector.
In 1584, van Winghe emigrated to Frankfurt, probably fleeing Spanish repression, and settled there permanently. Otto van Veen succeed him working for Alexander Farnese.
In the 1590s, Joos van Winghe was as internationally renowned as Bartholomeus Spranger.
He had at least one son, Jeremiah, who was a painter too.
The influence of Mannerist painters from Emilia-Romagna is perceptible in van Winghe’s work. Particularly that of Francesco Mazzola (Parmigianino) who maximized distortions to give his work a mysterious dimension. All of his compositions conveyed his taste for Venetian masquerades. Spranger’s influence is often perceptible too.
But van Winghe has a very personal style which is strong and grandiloquent.
The cold colors of his palette cleaving through reds and yellows add to the drama in his painting.
Few paintings are kept :
« Samson and Dalila » at the Kunstakademie of Düsseldorf, « Apelle and Campaspe » at the Kunsthistorisches Museum of Vien. Some works atributed to van Winghe was sold in auctions : « Enée and Anchise fleeing Troy » Sotheby’s in London 2001, or « Elegant company playing music» Dorotheum in Vien 1999.
But a lot of drawings :
(Albertina ; Oxford, Ashmolean Museum ; Bruxelles, M. R. B. A. ; Rotterdam, B. V. B. ; Dresde, cabinet drawings ; Paris, B. N. and Louvre). Several van Winghe's drawings were engraved by his son Jeremias (Bruxelles 1578 ? - Francfort 1648 ou 1658), who copied his father's drawings too (Paris, B. N.).
Price : on request