Flemish School, circa 1600, circle of H. Goltzius, The Holy Family in front of a green curtain, oak panel Flemish School, circa 1600, circle of H. Goltzius, The Holy Family in front of a green curtain, oak panel. Image via Tajan

The painting is attributed to the circle of Hendrick Goltzius. Goltzius, a German-born Dutch artist, who was primarily a printmaker. At the age of 42 Goltzius turned his talents to painting. The painting consigned to Tajan was clearly a work of the same period as Goltzius, it displayed his influence but it was not necessarily executed by his pupil so it is attributed to his circle, rather than the artist himself.

The scene depicts The Holy Family in front of a sumptuous green curtain and with a strong contrast between light and dark shadows. The painting was produced in 1600, the start of the Baroque period, which can be clearly identified in this image through the stark contrasts of light and dark. These elements can be seen in the work of more famous artists of the Dutch School, such as Johannes Vermeer, Frans Hals and Rembrandt.

Philosopher in Meditation (or Interior with Tobit and Anna) by Rembrandt Philosopher in Meditation (or Interior with Tobit and Anna) by Rembrandt

The Dutch Republic was a small country in the Low Countries (modern day Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg) under French, then Spanish rule, up until the Eighty Years’ War in 1566. The war ended in 1648 with King Philip II Spain granting independence. After such a battle, we would expect the tiny country to have been depleted, broken and lacking the strength to peruse any artist traditions.

Yet, the new Dutch republic became one of the most prosperous and self-assured nations in Europe and the Golden Age of the Dutch School reflects a strong desire to develop a unique artistic legacy.

Johannes Vermeer, Girl with a Pearl Earring, 1665 Image: Mauritshuis Royal Picture Gallery Johannes Vermeer, Girl with a Pearl Earring, 1665
Image: Mauritshuis Royal Picture Gallery

After three months, Tajan held their Fine Art sale on 6th April 2016. The estimate was € 3 000 - € 5 000 and the hammer came down at € 4 500.

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