Dulwich Picture Gallery II


Godefridus SCHALCKEN

Made, 1643–The Hague, 16 November 1706
Dutch painter, draughtsman and printmaker

Godefridus Schalcken [1] was born in Made near Breda to a family of clergymen. The family moved to Dordrecht in 1654, where his father became the principal of a Latin school and where Godefridus studied from 1656 to 1662 with the painter and author Samuel van Hoogstraten (1627–78). He then studied with Gerard Dou (1613–75) in Leiden in 1663–4. Both his masters were students of Rembrandt (1606/7–69). By 1675 Schalcken had returned to Dordrecht, where he became the most popular portrait painter (Nicolaes Maes (1634–93) had left for Amsterdam in 1673). In 1691 he became a member of the Hague society of painters, Confrerie Pictura. In 1692 he went to London, and stayed there until 1697, painting many portraits, among them King William III by Candlelight (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam) [2]. In 1698 he moved to The Hague, where he became a citizen in 1699. From 1703 he was in the service of the Prince Elector Palatine Johann Wilhelm von der Pfalz (1658–1716) in Düsseldorf, but it seems that he continued to live and work in The Hague, and only went to Düsseldorf when his client required it.

Schalcken was internationally famous, and Cosimo de’ Medici III (1642–1723) commissioned a self-portrait from him for his collection of painters’ self-portraits in the Uffizi in Florence.

Schalcken’s œuvre comprises portraits, history paintings, and genre scenes, many of which feature nocturnal or artificial light. Among his pupils were Carel de Moor II (1655–1738) and the Amsterdam portrait painter Arnold Boonen (1669–1729).1 His candlelit scenes were very popular in the 18th and 19th centuries; they inspired the Irish author Sheridan Le Fanu to write the horror story ‘The Strange Event in the Life of Schalken the Painter’ of 1839 (adapted for television by the BBC in 1979).2

Beherman 1988; Waterhouse 1988, p. 239; Loughman 1992; Jansen 1996a; Löffler 1998, p. 344; Kollmann 2000, p. 261; Neumeister 2003b; Saur, ci, 2018, p. 363 (A. K. Ševčík); Ecartico, no. 6613: http://www.vondel.humanities.uva.nl/ecartico/persons/6613 (Jan. 13, 2018); RKDartists&, no. 70145: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/artists/70145 (Jan. 13, 2018).

Godefridus Schalcken
Self portrait of Godefridus Schalcken (1643-1706), dated 1695
canvas, oil paint 109,7 x 88,7 cm
lower left : G. Schalcken 1695
Leamington Spa, Leamington Spa Art Gallery, inv./cat.nr. A452.1953

Godefridus Schalcken
Portrait of William III of Orange (1650-1702) in candlelight, c. 1695
canvas, oil paint 76,5 x 65 cm
lower left : G. Schalcken
Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, inv./cat.nr. SK-A-367

Godefridus Schalcken (?) after Adam Elsheimer
DPG191 – Ceres at the Cottage

Late 17th century?; oak panel, 41.9 x 37.2 cm

?Sir Gregory Page (Ambulator 1774, p. 17 mentions a ‘Woman with a Torch’ by ‘Ditto’ [Scalchen] in Page’s collection);3 ?Desenfans private sale, London, 8 April ff. 1786 (Lugt 4022), lot 406 (‘Schalken – Candlelight. 42 x 33’ (includes frame). £6 6s.); not in the Evening Mail inventory 1790–91; Desenfans sale, Skinner and Dyke, 4–28 Feb. 1795 (Lugt 5281), lot 2 (‘Schalken – Ditto [A Woman at a Door], a Candle Light’); undated list of ‘Pictures to be Sold’, no. 11 (closet near the study: ‘Schalcken – Candle Light. 6 gns.’); Desenfans sale, Skinner and Dyke, 16–18 Feb. 1802 (Lugt 6380), lot 159 (G. Douw, ‘Ceres at the Old Woman’s Cottage’);4 handwritten note in a copy of the catalogue in the RKD: ‘14 h. 12 P[anel]’, £31.10 (bt in); Bourgeois Bequest, 1811; Britton 1813, p. 13, no. 111 (‘Stair Case contd / no. 33, Interior of a cottage. Woman & child: candlelight [no support mentioned] Elshiemer [sic]’; 2'2" x 2').

Cat. 1817, p. 12, no. 220 (‘CENTRE ROOM – East Side; Ceres drinking at the Cottage of an old Woman; G. Douw’); Haydon 1817, p. 392, no. 220 (Elsheimer);5 Cat. 1820, p. 12, no. 220 (‘Ceres drinking at the Cottage of an old Woman; G. Douw’); Cat. 1830, no. 238 (‘Ceres, at the old woman’s Cottage; Adam Elsheimer’); Jameson 1842, ii, pp. 481–2, no. 238;6 Clarke 1842, no. 238 (‘beautiful effect’); Denning 1858, no. 238;7 not in Denning 1859; Sparkes 1876, p. 63, no. 238 (A. Elsheimer – copy after a painting in the Royal Collection); Richter & Sparkes 1880, p. 152, no. 238 (‘[formerly] attributed to G. Dou. It has certainly been painted in the school of this master, and, to judge from its technique, it must be considered as an early work of G. Schalken’); Havard & Sparkes 1885, p. 178, no. 238 (Slingelandt, ‘An early picture’); Richter & Sparkes 1892 and 1905, p. 50, no. 191; HdG, v, 1912, p. 342, no. 65 (Engl. edn 1913, p. 329: Schalcken; ‘Probably an early work’); Cook 1914, pp. 121–2, no. 191; Cook 1926, p. 114; Cat. 1953, p. 37; Morawińska 1974, p. 42, no. 31; Murray 1980a, p. 300 (Schalken [sic]); Beherman 1988, p. 334, no. 261 (imitator of Schalcken); Beresford 1998, pp. 220–21 (imitator of Schalcken); Jonker & Bergvelt 2016, pp. 225–6 (Godfried Schalcken (?), after Adam Elsheimer; RKD, no. 287781: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/287781 (Jan. 15, 2018).

The single-member oak panel support of this painting has horizontal grain and is in sound condition. The reverse of the panel is painted dark and there is a stencilled inscription in pink-orange paint: ‘P B 39’; the verso also bears a brown paper label and some chalk marks and inscriptions. The edges are bevelled and a few old wormholes are evident in the vertical sides of the panel. The ground preparation is dark and very worn; it is visible through the paint layers in areas of abrasion or thinness. The main paint layers consist mostly of earth pigments and are fairly abraded, notably in the foreground and the boy, with some paint and ground loss in the worst areas. There is a scratch with some paint loss in Ceres’ arm. A clear pentimento shows a change in the position of the child’s left arm: it is raised in the underpainted image and lowered in the main image. There is very little craquelure in the paint. The resinous varnish over the paint is thickly applied, patchy and discoloured. Previous recorded treatment: 1952–5, conserved, Dr Hell; 1988, examined, Courtauld Institute of Art.

1a) Prime version: Adam Elsheimer, The Mocking of Ceres, c. 1608, copper (silvered), 29.1 x 24 cm. Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, gift of Dr Alfred and Isabel Bader, Milwaukee [3].9
1b) Prime version, or copy?: Adam Elsheimer, The Mocking of Ceres, c. 1608, copper, 29.5 x 24.1 cm. Prado, Madrid, 2181.10
1c) Adam Elsheimer, The Mocking of Ceres, gouache, 159 x 104 mm. Kunsthalle, Hamburg, 1927-105.11
1d. Adam Elsheimer, The Mocking of Ceres, c. 1609, etching, 315 x 234 mm (image 284 x 227 mm); unique version. Kunsthalle, Hamburg, 12870.12
2a) (in reverse) Hendrick Goudt after Adam Elsheimer, The Mocking of Ceres, 1610, engraving, 320 x 246 mm (image 291 x 236 mm). RPK, RM, Amsterdam, RP-P-OB-31.707 [4].13
2b) (original orientation) Wenceslaus Hollar after Hendrick Goudt, The Mocking of Ceres, 1646, etching, 300 x 232 mm. Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, 24.1.4-14.14
2c) Karel van Mander III (1610–70), freely adapted after Adam Elsheimer, The Mocking of Ceres, etching, 229 x 161 mm. Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, 24.1.4-35 [5].15
3a) Salomon Koninck, The Mocking of Ceres, signed and dated S. Koninck 1645, panel, 67 x 55.5 cm. Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, gift of Dr Alfred and Isabel Bader, Milwaukee.16
3b) Salomon Koninck, The Mocking of Ceres, 1645 (or earlier), panel, dimensions unknown. Mme Alex Roche collection, Limoges, in 1972 (photo RKD).17
3c) (in reverse) Salomon Koninck, The Mocking of Ceres, 1645–6, signed S. Koninck.f., William Hayes Ackland Memorial Art Museum, Chapel Hill, N.C., Gift of Mr and Mrs Norman Hirschl,

The very poor condition of the picture prevents a fair assessment of its quality. No similar composition by Schalcken is known, although he painted many night scenes. In the 1780s DPG191 seems to have been acquired as by Schalcken, but in 1802 Desenfans offered it for sale with an attribution to Gerard Dou, Schalcken’s master. In 1813 it entered the Dulwich collection as a picture by Adam Elsheimer (1578–1610). It was known at the time that a painting said to be by Elsheimer had been included in the Dutch Gift to Charles II of England (1630–65) in 1660, possibly in a version painted by Gerard Dou.19 These three names – Schalcken, Dou and Elsheimer– are all in the early catalogues, and Denning in 1858 had problems choosing between the three, until Richter & Sparkes in 1880 concluded that it must be ‘an early work of G. Schalken’.20

The scene depicts an episode from Ovid’s Metamorphoses (Book V, 446–61): Ceres, searching for her daughter Proserpine, is offered a drink at a humble cottage by an old woman; a boy, Stellio (or Stellion), mocks Ceres’ thirst, and she transforms him into a lizard.

DPG191 is a free copy of The Mocking of Ceres, a famous painting by Adam Elsheimer, who spent most of his working life in Rome.21 Of Elsheimer’s composition at least two versions exist, one now in Kingston, Ontario (Related works, no. 1a) [3] and the other in the Prado (Related works, no. 1b). The latter is now considered by Andrews and Klessmann to be a copy. Elsheimer was very much interested in exploring this unusual subject, and did so in at least two other versions, in gouache and etching (Related works, nos 1c, 1d). Other artists, starting with Hendrick Goudt (1583–1648; Related works, no. 2a) [4], made prints after Elsheimer’s painting, both with the original orientation, as in the print by Wenzel Hollar (1607–77; Related works, no. 2b), and in reverse. An example of the latter is a free adaptation of Elsheimer’s composition by Karel van Mander III (1609–70; Related works, no. 2c) [5]. There are similarities between it and DPG191: the boy is standing with his legs spread, albeit in a different position, and there is the same focus on the candlelight (a single candle in Van Mander). DPG191 differs from the print, however, in that the child looks straight at the goddess; Ceres holds her drink with only one hand, the other holding a flame; and the foreground is littered with domestic crockery. Both the position of the boy and the candles are different in Elsheimer’s original version, and the old woman with the candle is more erect in DPG191.

The compositions that Elsheimer made in Rome at the beginning of the 17th century remained very popular in the North until the end of the century. They circulated in the form of prints, in the case of The Mocking of Ceres by Goudt, Karel van Mander III and Hollar. There may have been an original version by Elsheimer in the Netherlands, possibly copied by Dou. Around 1645 the Amsterdam painter Salomon Koninck (1609–56), a pupil of Rembrandt, made three versions of the theme (Related works, nos 3a–3c). As with DPG191 it is not clear whether Koninck was inspired by an original or by one of the many prints.

possibly Godefridus Schalcken
Mocking of Ceres by Stellio (Metamorphosis V:446-461)
panel (oak), oil paint 41,9 x 37,2 cm
Dulwich (London), Dulwich Picture Gallery, inv./cat.nr. DPG191

Adam Elsheimer
Mocking of Ceres
copper, oil paint 29,1 x 24 cm
in verso : Adam Elsh(ei)mer pinxit Rom[ae]
Milwaukee (Wisconsin), private collection Alfred & Isabel Bader

Hendrick Goudt after Adam Elsheimer
Mocking of Ceres, dated 1610
paper, engraving 320 x 246 mm
Amsterdam, Rijksprentenkabinet, inv./cat.nr. RP-P-OB-31.707

Karel van Mander (III) free after Adam Elsheimer
The mocking of Ceres, c. 1630-1635
paper, etching, 1st state 229 x 161 mm
Cambridge (England), Fitzwilliam Museum, inv./cat.nr. 24.I.4-35 (objectnummer)


1 DPG116, now Carel de Moor II, was thought by Havard & Sparkes (1885, p. 178) to be by Schalcken.

2 See http://www.screenonline.org.uk/tv/id/1154981/index.html (July 10, 2020). The episodes can be seen on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eN1IGA37muE&list=PLfCGAz4Gaup_5eqeZ0HlJT0KQufV1lMRt&index=1 (Jan. 17, 2021).

3 However, this painting mentioned in 1774 does not appear in the catalogue of the Page sale: Anon. sale, London (Bertels), 28 May 1783 (Lugt 3586). (At that sale Desenfans purchased Van Dyck’s Samson and Delilah, DPG127.)

4 Desenfans 1802, ii, p. 114, no. 128: ‘By the same [= Gerard Douw]; Ceres at the Old Woman’s Cottage; In a landscape lighted by the moon, at the door of a cottage surrounded with trees entwined by the ivy and the vine, stands the goddess Ceres, her head encircled with ears of corn, holding in one hand, the cup out of which she drinks, and a lighted torch in the other. The old woman, supported by her crutch, holds a lighted candle in her hand; her back is towards the door of the cottage, which is half open, and she is waiting till the goddess has drunk, whilst the child, who is beside her, is ridiculing Ceres, who to punish him, afterwards transformed him into a bat. Several kitchen utensils are scattered over the ground, near the cottage, and highly enrich a picture which is fit for the most select collection.’

5 ‘Elsheimer. Ceres and old Woman at Cottage Door.’

6 ‘This is a small, highly-finished picture, in which a very poetical subject is treated in the most unpoetical and most undignified manner. It is attributed here to Gerard Dou. It is a copy, I presume, of a subject by Adam Elzheimer, of which there is a famous engraving by Count Goudt, copied by Hollar.*’ [*‘The original picture, or a duplicate, once existed in the Royal Collection: I find it in King James’s Catalogue, 518. “A night piece of a woman with a light in her hand, and one drinking; by Elsheimer.” It also occurs in the MS. Catalogue drawn up for King William in 1697, but I have not met with it in the Royal collection.’].’

7 ‘Ceres, at the old woman’s Cottage; Adam Elsheimer [deleted: Gerard Dou, Godfrey Schalcken] [added, in pencil: {Cf: Smith 93}]’. By ‘Smith 93’ Denning means Smith 1829–42, iv (1833), p. 286 (Godfrey Schalcken), no. 93: ‘Ceres, bearing a blazing torch in her hand, seeking for her daughter Proserpine. 1 ft. 1¼ in. by 10¼ in. – P[anel] Valued by the experts du Musée, 1816, 1000 fs. 40l.’ That picture is now in the Musée de l’Hôtel Lallemand, Bourges: Beherman 1988, p. 114, no. 29.

8 The version referred to by Jameson in the British Royal Collection (see note 6 above) is mentioned in several 17th- and 18th-century inventories of the collection, but then it disappears. It was described in another catalogue of the pictures of James II, p. 20, no. 334, as ‘Elschamor. An Olde woman holding a Candle & a woman drincking, a night piece. Dutch prsent. 0.11 [x] 0.9 [= 27.9 x 22.8 cm]’. See Mahon 1949b, p. 350, no. B; Van Thiel 1965, p. 8; Baer 2009/1990, pp. 94–5. In these publications it is assumed that the author of this version was Gerard Dou and not Elsheimer.

9 RKD, no. 288039: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/288039 (March 24, 2018); Klessmann 2006, p. 138, no. 26. The provenance of the painting can be traced back to 1988 (Bader acquired it in 1991): De Witt 2008, pp. 125–7, no. 72. Here, however, the painting’s provenance rather optimistically is said to be the British Royal Collection (see notes 6 and 8 above), as part of the Dutch Gift of 1660. There is no proof of this; the painting is mentioned in several 17th and 18th-century inventories of the British Royal Collection, but then it disappears. See also note 8 above for publications which related the ‘Elsheimer’ Dutch Gift painting to Gerard Dou.

10 Klessmann 2006, pp. 139–45, no. 27; Andrews 1977, fig. 82, pp. 152–3, no. 23. According to Held 1966, p. 34, no. 32, fig. 30, the Prado painting is an original. It was in the collection of Rubens, who had known Elsheimer in Rome; Belkin & Healy 2004, pp. 98–101, no. 4 (K. Lohse Belkin), where it is called ‘Adam Elsheimer?’.

11 Klessmann 2006, p. 182, no. 42.

12 ibid., pp. 142–3, fig. 95; Andrews 1977, p. 164, no. 56, fig. 85, 31.4 x 23.3 cm (whole sheet), 28.4 x 22.7 cm (image); Held 1966, p. 116, no. 262, fig. 166.

13 RKD, no. 288937: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/288937 (April 24, 2018). The text on the Goudt print is by Janus Rutgers, who paraphrased Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Hollstein 1953a, p. 155, no. 5; Andrews 1977, fig. 86; Ackley 1981, pp. 76–7, no. 45; Andrews 2006, pp. 34 (fig. 45), 188; Klessmann 2006, pp. 143 (fig. 96), 186, no. 51 (31.5 x 23.5 cm; National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, P2686). See also Ling n.d., pp. 29–30, nos 12 and 13. A painting based on this print, with the same orientation, is now in the Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum, Brunswick, 357: The Mocking of Ceres, copper, 31 x 24 cm; see Held 1966, pp. 34–5, no. 33; Andrews 2006, p. 188.

14 http://data.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/id/object/129702 (Jan. 13, 2018); Pennington 1982, no. 273; Ling n.d., p. 31, no 14.

15 RKD, no. 239670: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/239670 (Jan. 13, 2018); Hollstein 1954, p. 166, no. 2 before all lettering; Ling n.d., p. 49, no. 35.

16 RKD, no. 20431: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/20431 (Jan. 13, 2018); De Witt 2008, pp. 174–5, no. 104; Klessmannn 2004, pp. 54 (fig. 1), 62, 70 (note 29); Neumeister 2003a, pp. 291, 413 (colour pl. 13); Sumowski 1983–94, iii (1986), p. 1643, no. 1088, p. 1662 (ill.).

17 De Witt 2008, p. 175 (fig. 104a).

18 ibid., p. 175, note 8 (canvas, 69 x 60 cm); Neumeister 2003a, pp. 292–3, fig. 187 (panel, 75 x 59 cm); Sumowski 1983–94, iii (1986), p. 1643, no. 1089, p. 1663 (colour ill.; panel).

19 For the Dutch Gift in general see Broos 1987, pp. 111–12; Logan 1979, pp. 75–86; and Van Thiel 1965.

20 Only Havard and Sparkes (1885, p. 178) suggest ‘Slingelandt’, by which they meant Pieter Cornelisz. van Slingelandt (1640–91), a Leiden artist who specialized in portraits and interiors.

21 For Elsheimer’s influence in the North see Klessmann 2004.

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