A Scene in a Forge

Jan Verbeeck1548

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

In the crowded interior of a forge, the gaunt figure of a blacksmith looks over his shoulder to observe his apprentices, who wear aprons like their master. Engaged in a gluttonous rampage, some raid the cupboards, while another takes food from a woman with a begging child. Tools lie strewn across the floor. As the smith is distracted from his work, the object that he holds in the flame flies apart. Various spectators stop outside the windows and at the top of the stairs to observe the chaotic scene, and an old woman slumped on a chair in the corner symbolizes Laziness, indicating that the scene might represent the popular Netherlandish theme of Sorghelos Leven (carefree living). The moralizing story warns the viewer against the extravagant waste of time, effort, and goods.

Jan Verbeeck covered this sheet with dense hatching, enveloping every part of the surface with lines to effectively increase the sense of chaos in the scene.

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  • Title: A Scene in a Forge
  • Creator: Jan Verbeeck
  • Date: 1548
  • Physical Dimensions: 18.4 x 27.9 cm (7 1/4 x 11 in.)
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Pen and brown ink
  • Source Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Signature: Signed and dated at the bottom center in two tones of brown ink, "i.verbeec 15.48-".
  • Object Type: Drawing
  • Object Status: Permanent Collection
  • Number: 90.GA.5
  • Markings: Markings: Collection stamp of R. Edwin Lyne; (verso) collection mark of Dr. Barry Delany (Lugt 350). Label: (Verso) label from R. A. exhibition of 1953-54.
  • Inscription: Inscribed at the lower right, in brown ink, "Verbec". On the verso, inscribed at center, in graphite, "From Roscoe & Cosway's Coln" and "frans verbec" or "Verbeec" (signed) / "Died 1570"; at lower right, also in graphite, "From Roscoe/&/Cosway's/ Collections".
  • Display Location: Not currently on view
  • Department: Drawings
  • Culture: Flemish
  • Classification: Drawings


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