Joost Cornelisz. Droochsloot
Village Scene with the Seven Acts of Mercy
Oil on panel. 60.5 x 106.5 cm.
Monogrammed and dated centre left: JC DSf 16[?].
The Utrecht based artist Joost Cornelisz. Droochsloot painted the theme chosen for this painting, the Seven Works of Mercy, numerous times, as it suited his preference for figural depictions. Other paintings by the artist with this subject can be found in the Museum Bredius in The Hague (inv. no. 39-1946) and in the Centraal Museum in Utrecht (inv. no. 2528), among others. A version in the Instituut Collectie Nederland (inv. no. NK 1411, also on loan to the Centraal Museum in Utrecht) shows the same architecture on the right edge of the picture as the present work.
In our painting, the depiction of the Seven Works of Mercy is distributed over the entire image, beginning with the Feeding of the Poor in the lower left half of the picture. Characteristic of many of Droochsloot's works is the noticeable use of perspective to draw viewers into his paintings. He creates this depth using the motif of a street lined with houses, inns or city walls leading into the background. Droochsloot's preference for genre-like, narrative moments, which can be seen in the sometimes almost unmanageable number of lively figures that populate his works, and which in the present painting is linked to the Christian theme of the Seven Works of Mercy, is still rooted in the Flemish tradition of Pieter Brueghel or David Vinckboons.
With a label on the reverse of the panel that reads: "NARODNI GALERIE V PRAZE / O 2880". The painting was removed from the holdings of the National Gallery in Prague on 1.10.1969 and sold to the art dealer G. Cramer in The Hague. We would like to thank Dr. Andrea Steckerová, Národní galerie v Praze, for the information provided.
Národní galerie v Praze. – 1969 G. Cramer art dealers, The Hague. – In a private collection in Baden Württemberg since 1972.
Jaromír Síp & Vladimir Novotný: Alte Holländische Meister, Hanau 1961, no. 30 (with colour illus.).