Dulwich Picture Gallery I


Jan (Sanders) van HEMESSEN

Hemiksem, c. 1500–probably Antwerp between 1556 and 10 March 1557)1
Flemish painter and art dealer

Jan Sanders van Hemessen specialized in moralizing genre and Biblical scenes. In 1519–20 he was a pupil of Hendrik van Cleve I (c. 1464–after 1519) in Antwerp. He then probably went to Italy. In 1524 he became master in the Guild of St Luke in Antwerp, and in 1548 dean. He seems to have visited Fontainebleau in the 1530s. His last dated picture is of 1556. His work reflects many influences from the Italian Renaissance and Classical Antiquity; the Rockox triptych of the Last Judgement (St Jacobskerk, Antwerp, c. 1536–7),2 for instance, shows knowledge of Luca Signorelli (c. 1440/50–1523) and of Raphael’s Transfiguration (of which, coincidentally, there is a copy in Dulwich Church).3 Hemessen had a sizeable workshop with apprentices; often several hands are discernible in his altarpieces. For the Rockox triptych he was assisted by the Master of Paul and Barnabas (fl. c. 1525–50). He influenced the Antwerp painters Pieter Aertsen (c. 1508–1575) and Joachim Beuckelaer (c. 1533–c. 1574).

Wallen 1983; Wallen 1996; De Clippel 2011; Ecartico, no. 3631: http://www.vondel.humanities.uva.nl/ecartico/persons/3631 (Hemisksem c. 1500–Antwerp after 1556; Nov. 26, 2017); RKDartists&, no. 37345: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/artists/37345 (Nov. 26, 2017).

Workshop of Jan (Sanders) van Hemessen
DPG505 – The Fall of Man

1530–60; oak panel, 106.7 x 64.8 cm

?possibly Alleyn Bequest, 1626, or possibly Cartwright Bequest, 1686 (one page of the inventory is missing); Dulwich College by 28 Nov. 1814 (mentioned in the ledger of the restorer Robert Brown, NAL, MSL/1993/3/1, ‘Do a Picr. of Adam & Eve on Panel Mabuse 3.3’).

Sparkes & Carver 1890, p. 38, no. 76 (Probably Flemish);4 Richter & Sparkes 1892, p. 140, no. 76; Richter & Sparkes 1905, p. 142; Cook 1914, p. 275, no. 505;5 Cook 1926, p. 255; Cat. 1953, pp. 48, 61 (Unknown); Murray 1980a, p. 81 (Circle of Mabuse; c. 1520/30);6 Murray 1980b, pp. 18–19;7 Beresford 1998, p. 73 (Follower of Coecke van Aelst); Hendrikman 2012, pp. 60, 62 (in English), 61 (in Dutch); Hendrikman 2015, p. 65 (Pieter Coecke van Aelst), under circle of Jan van Hemessen (Related works, no. 1) [1]; Jonker & Bergvelt 2016, pp. 98–9 (workshop of Jan (Sanders) van Hemessen); RKD, no. 64921: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/64921 (Dec. 19, 2017).

Three-member oak panel with vertical grain. Pale ground. Charcoal underdrawing. The joins are supported on the reverse by butterfly keys. There is a split 6 cm from the left edge, also supported by butterfly keys. The panel has an overall convex warp. Minor cupping of the ground along the grain. The paint around the tree trunk appears to have been burnt and abraded at some point. The pale fields have probably lost a green copper-resinate glaze (remnants visible between the tree trunk and Adam’s shoulder and on some of the tree leaves). Previous recorded treatment: 1948–68, cleaned, Dr Hell; 1980, secured flaking paint, surface cleaned, varnished and retouched, National Maritime Museum, C. Hampton.

1) Circle of Jan van Hemessen, The Fall of Man, panel, 200 x 168 cm. Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht, since 2005, 10-05427 [1].8
2) Master of Paul and Barnabas, Paul and Barnabas at Lystra, panel, 59.5 x 95.8 cm. Szépmüvészeti Múzeum, Budapest, 4315 [2].
3) Albrecht Dürer, The Fall of Man, 1504, engraving, 250 x 192 mm. RM, Amsterdam, RP-P-OB-1156 [3].9
4) Michelangelo, The Expulsion from Paradise, fresco, Sistine Chapel ceiling, completed 1512.
5) Marcantonio Raimondi, The Expulsion from Paradise (transfer print after Michelangelo’s Sistine ceiling painting), c. 1515–25, engraving, 190 x 141 mm. MMA, New York, 49.97.1 [4].10
6) Titian, Adam and Eve, c. 1550, canvas, 240 x 186 cm. Prado, Madrid, P000429.11

This painting has been attributed to several masters. The earliest source assigned it to Mabuse (Jan Gossart, 1478–1532); this was modified by Murray in 1980 to ‘Circle of Mabuse’. Today it is associated with somewhat later artists from Antwerp, such as the Master of Paul and Barnabas (active c. 1525–50),12 whose œuvre has been based on a painting of Paul and Barnabas in Budapest (Related works, no. 2) [2], around which Mary Buchan constructed a group of paintings formerly attributed to Pieter Aertsen. The Master of Paul and Barnabas was active in the workshop of Jan (Sanders) van Hemessen in Antwerp. He painted backgrounds and figures in the master’s workshop. His own work consists mostly of small history paintings. Bruyn argued that he might be Jan Mandijn (c. 1500–c. 1560).13 Te Poel and Van den Brink proposed the large-scale Fall of Man in Maastricht as a work by him (Related works, no. 1) [1]. Lars Hendrikman of the Bonnefantenmuseum, however, thinks that the Fall should be attributed to the circle of Jan van Hemessen, and the Dulwich picture too:14 they are probably by the same hands (two hands, perhaps even two studios, can be discerned in both pictures). There are many similarities in the figures (fingers, hair), in the snake, the tree, and the foliage.15 In 1997 Edwin Buijsen of the RKD suggested that DPG505 was from the circle of Pieter Coecke van Aelst I (1502–50), active in Antwerp for most of his life, and a leading proponent of Antwerp Romanism.16 Beresford adopted this attribution; Linda Jansen, writing a monograph on Coecke van Aelst, sees connections with his work and with the Maastricht picture, especially in the backgrounds.17 However according to Hendrikman the seated Adam in the Maastricht picture shows knowledge of a Fall of Man by Titian (1488/90–1576), now in the Prado. That picture is dated 1550–51 and sometimes even later (Related works, no. 6), which makes it almost impossible that the picture in Maastricht could have been painted by Coecke (he died in 1550). The technical research (IRR) that was done on 14 May 2018 on DPG505 by Astrid Harth, Maximiliaan Martens and Elizabeth Vandeweghe from the University of Ghent would probably tell us more about the author and the relationship with the Maastricht picture, but the results have not yet been published.

DPG505 shows Adam and Eve standing before the Tree of Knowledge, with Eve offering the apple to her partner and Adam hesitating. The Serpent curls around a branch behind the pair. In the background is an extensive landscape, in which their expulsion from Paradise appears. The iconography of the scene is derived from a number of early 16th-century sources, chief among them the Fall of Man engraving of 1504 (Related works, no. 3) [3] by Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528) and the Expulsion from Paradise by Michelangelo (1475–1564) on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, engraved by Marcantonio Raimondi (1480–1527/34; Related works, no. 4) [4]. The position of Adam’s hand is very similar to that of Michelangelo’s Adam, while the figure of Eve is closer to Dürer’s.

studio of Jan van Hemessen
The Fall of Man: Eve presenting the apple to Adam (Genesis 3:4-6), c. 1530-1560
panel, oil paint 106,7 x 64,8 cm
Dulwich (London), Dulwich Picture Gallery, inv./cat.nr. DPG505

circle of Jan van Hemessen
The Fall of Man (Genesis 3:4-6), third quarter 16th century
panel, oil paint 200 x 168 cm
Maastricht, Bonnefantenmuseum, inv./cat.nr. 10-05427

Master of Paulus and Barnabas
Paul and Barnabas at Lystra, c. 1535-1545
panel (oak), oil paint 59,5 x 95,7 cm
Budapest, Szépmüvészeti Múzeum, inv./cat.nr. 4315

Albrecht Dürer
Fall of Man, 1504 dated
paper, engraving 250 x 192 mm
Amsterdam, Rijksprentenkabinet, inv./cat.nr. RP-P-OB-1156

Marcantonio Raimondi
Expulsion from Paradise (Genesis 3:22-24)
paper, engraving 190 x 141 mm
New York City, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, inv./cat.nr. 49.97.1


1 According to De Clippel 2011.

2 RKD, no. 216196: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/216196 (Dec. 4, 2019); Wallen 1983, pp. 79–88, 292–4, no. 17, figs 71–4, 80, 88, 89 (as Jan van Hemessen and Jan Swart van Groningen).

3 See Raphael (1483–1520); for his Transfiguration see RKD, no. 266487: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/266487 (Dec. 4, 2019)

4 ‘Adam and Eve in the Garden. Probably a Flemish picture […] Donor, not known.’

5 ‘Adam and Eve in the Garden; Artist Unknown; […] Probably a Flemish picture.’

6 ‘The composition is closely based on the famous engraving by Dürer of 1504 […] closest […] is the […] painting of c. 1509 now in the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection […] Next probably comes the Dulwich picture, followed by the original work in the Royal Collection and at least two derivatives from it […] Although our picture cannot be regarded as by Mabuse himself it must be a product of his studio about 1520/30.’

7 ‘Closely based on the engraving by Dürer of 1504 and an original in the Royal Collection.’

8 RKD, no. 67326: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/67326 (Nov. 26, 2017). Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, as Jan Swart van Groningen from 1976 to 2001; see Wallen 1983, p. 93, figs 94–5 (Jan Swart van Groningen); Sutton 1986, p. 155 (Jan Swart van Groningen); Te Poel & Van den Brink 2005 (Master of Paul and Barnabas); Hendrikman 2012, pp. 58–63, 157 (ill.), 195; Hendrikman 2014, pp. 64–72.

9 RKD, no. 55547: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/55547 (Nov. 26, 2017); see Buchan 1980, pp. 45, 47, fig. 8 (Master of Paul and Barnabas, here called the Master of St Paul); Wallen 1983, pp. 92–3, fig. 93 (Jan Swart van Groningen); Bruyn 1985, pp. 19–21, fig. 1 (Master of Paul and Barnabas); Ember & Urbach 2000, p. 103, fig. (Master of the Budapest Paul and Barnabas).

10 RKD, no. 288887: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/288887 (Dec. 4, 2019); see also http://hdl.handle.net/10934/RM0001.COLLECT.33096. For another version see BM, London, 1868,0822.167: https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/P_1868-0822-167 (July 25, 2020). Cf. also Lucas van Leyden, The Fall, pencil, 283 x 195 mm, Kunsthalle, Hamburg, 241: see Vos 1978, p. 77, fig. 118.

11 RKD, no. 287646: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/287646 (Jan. 9, 2018); Wouk & Morris 2016, p. 153, no. 20 (J. Rose); Théberge 1992, p. 356, no. 85 (G. Morello).

12 https://www.museodelprado.es/en/the-collection/art-work/adam-and-eve/e0ca4331-fb89-47a7-9ba0-be0ece23426b (July 25, 2020); Humfrey 2007, p. 321, no. 250 (c. 1555–65).

13 The connection was suggested by Lars Hendrikman, and by Gregory Martin in conversation with Michiel Jonker, Aug. 2010.

14 Buchan 1980 (orig. 1975); Bruyn 1985.

15 Email from Lars Hendrikman to Michiel Jonker, 16 Feb. 2012 (DPG505 file).

16 See also his paper, Hendrikman 2015.

17 An attribution repeated by Buijsen in an email to Paul Matthews, 27 April 2006 (DPG505 file).

18 Email from Linda Jansen to Ellinoor Bergvelt, 8 March 2015 (DPG505 file). See also her ‘Pieter Coecke van Aelst (1502–1550) and his Workshop’, forthcoming PhD thesis, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen.

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