Dulwich Picture Gallery I


Cornelis DUSART

Haarlem, baptised 25 April 1660–Haarlem, 1 October 1704, buried 6 October
Dutch painter, draughtsman, printmaker and art dealer

Cornelis Dusart's father was the organist of St Bavo in Haarlem. A pupil of Adriaen van Ostade(1610–1685), he joined the Haarlem Guild of St Luke on 10 January 1680 and was appointed warden of the guild for a year in 1692.

On Ostade’s death in 1685 Dusart took over his studio and continued to produce pictures that followed his master’s models, introducing a lighter palette and brighter colours. He also completed some of Ostade’s unfinished pictures, as well as works by his master’s brother, Isaak van Ostade (1621–49). In the early 1680s Dusart became influenced by Jan Steen (1625/6–79), and while he maintained Ostade’s compositions, his figures began to exhibit Steen’s characteristic expressions, postures and costumes. He may also have completed or adapted some of Steen’s paintings. Some of his numerous prints and drawings also reveal the influence of Cornelis Bega (1631–64).

Dusart never married, and was apparently sickly. His will includes an inventory of his picture collection which reveals paintings and drawings by Ostade and all his etchings together with the plates, and works by other Dutch artists, including Cornelis Bega, Gerrit Berckheyde (1638–98), Frans Hals I (1582/83–1666) and Adriaen van de Velde (1636–72), and Italian artists. His estate was sold in Haarlem on 21 August 1708. His library comprised more than two hundred books, remarkable in itself, but also remarkable for the fact that a list survives, showing that he possessed not only the books on art and art literature that a 17th-century Dutch artist might well have, but also many theological works.

Trautscholdt 1966; Sutton 1984a, pp. 196–7, no. 41; Schnackenburg 1996b; Beaujean 2002; Van Thiel-Stroman 2006e; Anderson 2010; Aono 2011, CD-rom, pp. 160–61; Ecartico, no. 2667: http://www.vondel.humanities.uva.nl/ecartico/persons/2668 (25 Dec. 2017); RKDartists&, no. 25070: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/artists/25070 (25 Dec. 2017).

Frans Decker
Portrait of Cornelis Dusart (1660-1704), dated 1734
paper, black chalk, brown wash 188 x 154 mm
lower center : F: DEKKER del: Ao. 1734.
Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, inv./cat.nr. RP-T-1940-57

DPG39 – Figures in the Courtyard of an Old Building

1682; oak panel, 49 x 37.2 cm
Signed and dated, indistinctly on the side of the kennel, lower right: C. Dusart, 1682

?;1 Bourgeois Bequest, 1811; Britton 1813, p. 17, no. 156 (‘Upper Room – East side of Passage – contd. / no. 19, Figures under an Arch, with dogs – P[anel] Dusart’; 2' x 1'8").

Cat. 1817, p. 6, no. 85 (‘FIRST ROOM – East Side; Old Buildings, with Figures; C. Dusart’); Haydon 1817, p. 377, no. 85;2 Cat. 1820, p. 6, no. 85; Cat. 1830, no. 104; Jameson 1842, ii, pp. 458–9, no. 104;3 Waagen 1854, ii, p. 343, no. 104;4 Denning 1858, no. 104; Denning 1859, no. 104 (‘This is an exquisite little picture’); Sparkes 1876, p. 61, no. 104;5 Richter & Sparkes 1880, p. 61, no. 104;6 Richter & Sparkes 1892 and 1905, p. 9, no. 39; Cook 1914, pp. 22–3, no. 39; Cook 1926, p. 22, no. 39; Cat. 1953, p. 18; Murray 1980a, p. 52; Murray 1980b, p. 13; Beresford 1998, p. 96; Beaujean 2002, p. 240; Nowak 2012, i, p. 81, ii, p. 18 (fig. 26); Jonker & Bergvelt 2016, p. 79; RKD, no. 287555: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/287555 (Dec. 31, 2017).

Aberystwyth 1947, p. 10, no. 21 (M. Ellis).

Single-member oak panel with a vertical grain. Buff colour ground. Thinly painted. The paint layers are abraded in parts. The varnish is fairly discoloured, but otherwise the painting is in good condition. Previous recorded treatment: 1952–3, Dr Hell.

1a) Attributed to Gerard Dou and Govert Flinck, The Rest on the Flight to Egypt, panel, 77.6 x 64 cm. Private collection [2].7
1b) Rembrandt, The Holy Family, c. 1632, monogrammed RHL, etching, 97 x 73 mm. BM, London, F,4.124 [3].8
2a) Adriaen van Ostade, Peasant Family at Home, 1647, panel, 43.1 x 36.5 cm. Szépmüvészeti Múzeum, Budapest, 4284 [4].9
2b) Adriaen van Ostade, The Family, signed and dated A.v. ostade 1647, etching, 173 x 155 mm. BM, London, S.1527 [5].10
3a) Cornelis Bega, Visit to a Farmer’s Family, signed and dated cbega 1663, panel, 40.6 x 34.2 cm. Suermondt-Ludwig Museum, Aachen, GK 1613 [6].11
3b) Cornelis Bega, Scene in an Inn, panel, 38 x 33.5 cm. Landesmuseum, Mainz, 102.12
3c) Cornelis Bega, Farmers in an Inn, c. 1660, signed C Bega, panel, 33.5 x 30.8 cm. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, 797.13

Cornelis Dusart’s paintings, prints and drawings are generally raucous affairs, but this has a calm domesticity reminiscent of a secular nativity scene, a reading underlined by the inclusion of the donkey. Murray, who was unaware of the signature and date, suggested that the picture was a late work when the influence of Adriaen van Ostade had waned, but in fact it was painted only two years after Dusart had been admitted to the Guild of St Luke, when he was twenty-two years old. The quiet scene and the use of the dark foreground and the arch as framing devices are particularly reminiscent of some aspects of the œuvre of Cornelis Bega (Related works, no. 3a) [6]. Murray suggested the influence of Rembrandt.14 Indeed there is a picture of a Rest on the Flight into Egypt formerly attributed to Rembrandt (Related works, no. 1a) [2] which bears a general resemblance to Rembrandt’s print of a Holy Family (Related works, no. 1b) [3], and which could have been seen by Dusart. Otherwise, Rembrandt’s example could have reached Dusart via the work of his master. Ostade depicted a scene like this in a painting in Budapest and in an etching, both of 1647 (Related works, nos. 2a, 2b) [4-5]. However Dusart changed the quiet interiors of Rembrandt and Ostade and the noisy inn interiors of Bega (Related works, nos. 3b, 3c) to a quiet scene outdoors, in a courtyard, which indeed looks a bit like a Rest on the Flight into Egypt (also because of the donkey), as Nowak suggested.

Cornelis Dusart
Figures in the courtyard of an old building, dated 1682
panel (oak), oil paint 49 x 37,2 cm
Dulwich (London), Dulwich Picture Gallery, inv./cat.nr. DPG39

attributed to Gerard Dou and attributed to Govert Flinck
Rest on the flight into Egypt, c. 1640
panel (oak), oil paint 76 x 61,5 cm
Private collection

Holy family, 1630-1634
paper, etching 97 x 73 mm
London (England), British Museum, inv./cat.nr. F,4.124

Adriaen van Ostade
Peasant Family at Home, 1647 dated
panel, oil paint 43,1 x 36,5 cm
Budapest, Szépmüvészeti Múzeum, inv./cat.nr. 4284

Cornelis Bega
Visit to a farmer's family, dated 1663
panel, oil paint 40,6 x 34,2 cm
lower right : cbega 1663
Aachen, Suermondt-Ludwig-Museum, inv./cat.nr. GK 1613

Adriaen van Ostade
Family of peasants in an interior, 1647 dated
paper, etching 173 x 155 mm
lower right : A.v. ostade 1647
London (England), British Museum, inv./cat.nr. S.1527


1 GPID (3 Jan. 2018) records no pictures with a comparable subject among the Dusarts at auction between 1689 and 1811 (the death of Bourgeois).

2 ‘Cornelius Dusart. Old Buildings, with an Arch. A Woman suckling her Child, other Figures, &c.

3 ‘Figures in front of an Old Rustic Building. A woman suckling her child, a man standing by. Dusart was a scholar of A. Van Ostade, whom he has very successfully imitated in this picture.’

4 ‘A remarkably careful and choice picture of this scholar of A. van Ostade, who approaches nearest to his master in the glow of his colouring. (No. 104).’

5 ‘A graceful treatment of an ordinary subject; is much assisted by the warm subdued tone of colour.’

6 ‘One of the artist’s best works, harmonious in colouring, clever in composition, and in conception quite original and independent of Adriaen van Ostade.’

7 RKD, no. 102621: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/102621 (Feb. 2, 2021); Bruyn 1982, pp. 483–7, C6 (not accepted as Rembrandt); Bruyn 1986, pp. 848–54, C6 (attributed to Gerard Dou and Govert Flinck); Van de Wetering 2011a, p. 312, fig. 1 (Gerard Dou and Govaert Flinck, 1637).

8 RKD, no. 287645: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/287645 (Jan. 9, 2018); see also https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/P_F-4-124 (July 5, 2020).

9 RKD, no. 287724: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/287724 (Jan. 12, 2018); see also https://www.mfab.hu/artworks/peasant-family-at-home/ (July 5, 2020).

10 RKD, no. 267725: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/287725 (Jan. 12, 2018); see also https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/P_Sheepshanks-1527 (July 5, 2020).

11 RKD, no. 261181: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/261181 (Aug. 5, 2015); Van den Brink & Lindemann 2012, pp. 217–19, 278–79, no. 59 (S. Böhmer).

12 Van den Brink & Lindemann 2012, pp. 106–8, no. 9 (A. Pollmer-Schmidt).

13 http://www.khm.at/de/object/85d8ce590a/ (July 5, 2020); Van den Brink & Lindemann 2012, pp. 106–8, no. 9a (A. Pollmer-Schmidt).

14 Note in DPG39 file.

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