Hendrick de Clerck - John the Baptist in a Landscape
Hendrick de Clerck
John the Baptist in a Landscape
Oil on canvas (relined). 152 x 103 cm.
This work was recently rediscovered in a Spanish collection and has since been published. It is a particularly fascinating example from the early Italian period of Hendrick de Clerck. Whilst his later career at the court of the Archduke in Brussels is fairly well documented, his early Italian period has only recently been examined in greater detail by G. Previtali and G. Sapori.
This work depicts John the Baptist sitting at an angle on a rock. He gestures towards a wooded landscape in the background of the work with his right hand, but faces towards the beholder. Although the Italianate figure of the Saint is deeply indebted to Roman Mannerism, the landscape background betrays the artist's Flemish origin.
De Clerck arrived in Rome aged 20 and remained there until 1594. During this period of over ten years in Italy, he painted numerous fascinating works, such as the altarpiece of San Giovanni dei Genovesi, which also depicts John the Baptist, or the “Judgement of Paris” now kept in the Johanneum-Museum in Graz. The present work displays strong stylistic parallels to both of the former, as demonstrated by Ana Diéguez-Rodriguez in her detailed study. She also links the right-hand section of the landscape background to a study by de Clerck in the Waldburg Collection.
Private collection, Spain.
Ana Diéguez-Rodríguez: El período italiano de Henrdrick de Clerck (Rome 1587-1894). Reflexiones y consideraciones a través de una pintura inédita de San Juan Bautista en el desierto. In: Iván Rega Castro / Isidro Puig, ed.: Miradas a la pintura de época moderna entre Espana e Italia, X congreso CAEM, 2017.