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The Temptation of Christ

Flemish School

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The Temptation of Christ - Flemish School

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The Temptation of Christ

A preparatory drawing for the composition by Jan Breughel the Elder is in the Institut Néerlandais, Frits Lugt Collection, Paris. This preparatory drawing by Breughel was meticulously copied by the engraver Aegidius de Sadeler mimicking the virtuoso way in which the draughtsman suggested the wind sweeping the foliage of the trees upwards. In this presently not ascribed painting Breughels artistry is closely replicated again, of course as a mirror image of the original drawing now, giving the painting an unusual graphic quality. Also the reed and the trees rising up from the marsh remind more of a drawing or engraving than a painting. That being said, the painterly qualities of “The Temptation of Christ” are abundant and show in the nuance in which depth is suggested by the minutest differences in color. Is this an early work by a later well-known name emulating Breughel? The figures add a second riddle to this temptation of Christ; they are added confidently and swift, suggesting the hand of a Master: the devil is depicted ugly and has the posture of a decrepit hermit, Christ is standing worthy and untouched by the ado around him. Both figures are notated with utmost confidence; their hands consisting of only a few virtuoso brushstrokes.

Dutch private collection by descent for over 100 years
ca. 1595-1600
26.50 cm. H x 40.50 cm. W
10.43 in. H x 15.94 in. W
Price on request