Jakob Samuel Beck
Two Doves and a Cat
Oil on canvas (relined). 59 x 74.5 cm.
Jacob Samuel Beck was one of Thüringen's leading painters of animals and still lifes. The present work is a characteristic example of his compositional style, in which he generally placed a small number of animals in a dramatic narrative setting. Here we see a lurking cat observing two hapless doves in the foreground. The detailed rendering of various textures, such as the birds' feathers, and the correct depiction of specific animal breeds, in this case the characteristic eyes and beaks of the Spanish doves, is also typical of Beck's works.
Various motifs from this piece can be found in other paintings by Beck. For example the damaged stone ledge on which the doves are perched and the vine beside the vase, which is found in almost identical form in a portrait of Countess Ernestine Albertine von Schaumburg-Lippe (illus. in: Exhib. cat. “Jacob Samuel Beck (1715-1778). Zum 300. Geburtstag des Erfurter Malers“, Angermuseum Erfurt 18.10.2015-17.1.2016, Dresden 2016, no. 12, illus. p. 169). The cat is also depicted in identical form in the canvas "Hähne und Katzen" (private ownership, illus. in: Exhib. cat. Erfurt 2015/16, p. 90). The present work is characterised by a warm, balanced colour scheme of primarily green and grey tones, which form an attractive contrast to the reddish brown of the vase.
We would like to thank Dr. Martin Franke in Lohr am Main for his kind support in cataloguing this work. He has confirmed the authenticity of this work on examination of digital photographs, and suggests a date of 1755/60.