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Roelant Savery (1576 - 1639)

Lot 25: Roelandt Savery (Courtrai 1576-1639 Utrecht)


December 10, 2003
London, United Kingdom

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Irises, roses, a tulip, a fritillary, forget-me-nots, yarrow and other flowers in a glass vase in a stone niche with a carnation and a lizard on the ledge
signed 'ROELANDT SAVERY FE' (on the plinth, lower centre)
oil on copper
32 x 24.5 cm. (12 5/8 x 9 5/8 in.)


Kurt J.Müllenmeister, Roelant Savery, Die Gemälde mit Kritischem Oeuvrekatalog, Luca Ferlag, 1988, cat. no. 292, p.341, ill. p. 340

While Müllenmeister dates the present composition to circa 1612, Fred Meijer does not concur with this early dating and believes that the broad handling and the stylised way in which the lizard is painted place it firmly in the 1620s.
In 1612 Savery was still working in Prague, where he had been in the service of the Emperor Rudolf II for almost ten years. During this period the artist travelled around Bohemia and to the Alps, where the Emperor sent him to study directly from nature. The Emperor was renowned in particular as a collector of depictions of flowers: Emanuel Sweerts described him as the "greatest and most enthusiastic admirer of such things in the world, as well as the arts." (Florilegium, Frankfurt, 1612). It is likely that Savery was brought to the Rudolfine court specifically as a naturalist and successor to Georg Hoefnagel, who had died in 1600. Savery's importance as such is reflected in the fact that he created in 1603 the earliest extant dated independent flower painting by a Dutch artist (although an earlier example by him is recorded that is dated 1600 and other early still lifes exist, including one by Jacques de Gheyn, also dated 1603). Although they may be related to the contemporary miniatures that had been commissioned by Rudolf II from such artists as Hoefnagel and de Gheyn, these innovatory oils can be seen as a significant development from the earlier tradition of manuscript paintings. By the 1620s, however, Savery had established himself in Utrecht, where he continued to paint flowerpieces for the rest of his life and was highly influential on other Dutch artists of the period, his Utrecht flowerpieces providing a particular model for Jacob Marrel.
Müllenmeister draws particular attention to the depiction of the unusually formed vase in the present work. Although he suggests that this is made entirely from blue Waldglas, comparison may be made with a pair of 17th century Venetian gilt-mounted green glass vases which are in the British Museum and display similar nodules on the handles to those on the present vase's foot.


Eugen Slatter Gallery, London, circa 1957, from whom probably acquired by the present owners' family and thence by descent


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Old Master Paintings

December 10, 2003, 12:00 AM EST

London, United Kingdom