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A Smith shoeing an Ox

Karel DujardinLate 1650s

Dulwich Picture Gallery

Dulwich Picture Gallery

This painting probably dates to the late 1650s. It is a complex composition divided by a bold diagonal - part roof line, part shadow line - that separates sun from shade. The smith is glimpsed next to a roaring furnace inside the building, while two diminutive assistants (his children?) see to the customer.

However, as with Peasants and a White Horse, it is the animal who steals the show: an ox, poised like a bulky ballerina at the barre.

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Details

  • Title: A Smith shoeing an Ox
  • Date: Late 1650s
  • Physical Dimensions: w428 x h380 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil
  • null: Painted in the late 1650s. DPG82 was once in the collection of George Craufurd (Crawford), a Scottish merchant who had spent much of his life in Rotterdam. Hofstede de Groot confused DPG82 with another version of the scene by Du Jardin, formerly in the collection of Sir James Erskine of Torrie, subsequently bequeathed to the University of Edinburgh, and now on deposit to the National Gallery of Scotland (HdG336). An annotation in a copy of the 1806 sale catalogue (The Hague, RKD) notes 'Genl Sir Js Erskine has one of the same subject', proving that Dulwich's version must be the Craufurd picture as the Edinburgh picture was already in Scotland by this date.
  • Work Nationality: Dutch
  • Support: Canvas
  • Provenance: Cornelis van Dijck, 1713; his sale, The Hague, Wegewert, 10 May 1713, lot 6 ('Nog een stuk van Carel du Jardyn, verbeeldende een Os die Beslagen word voor Een Smidts Winckel, van zyn aldertederste en eelste Kouleur, zeer aengenaem en schoon'. Sold for 107 guilders); The Hague, J.H. van Heemskerk sale, 29 Mar. 1770, lot 64. Bt J. van der Marck, 305 g.; his sale, Amsterdam, 25 Aug. 1773, lot 142. Bt Van der Schley, 330 g.; Amsterdam, Catherina Bullens (widow of Justus Oosterdijk) sale, 23 July 1777, lot 15. Bt Gilden, 510 g.; Leiden, P. van Spijk; his sale, Leiden, Reyers, Coclers, 23 Apr. 1781, lot 44 (sold for 370 g.); Amsterdam, Jan Gildemeester; his sale, Amsterdam, Schley, Bosch, Yver, Roos, Pruysenaar, 11 Jun. 1800, lot 103 ('Haut 15, large 17 pouces. Sur toile. Un Maréchal Ferrant. Vers le milieu du tableau se voit un boeuf attaché par les cornes, qu'un maréchal ferre au pied de derrière; devant celui-ci se tient un homme en manteau parlant á un garçon: un charriot vuide est en arrière, & le fond présente la boutique du maréchal. Quelques poules mangeant d'un bac terminent cet ensemble. La belle fonte & l'harmonie des couleurs, la légéreté & l'extrème delicatesse de la touche, brillent au plus haut point dans ce tableau'). Bt [?Jan]Yver for 814 g. [MS. note in the copy of the catalogue in the National Gallery Library gives the price as 840 g.]; Rotterdam, George Crawford, to 1806; London, Christie's, Crawford sale, 26 Apr. 1806, lot 1 ('K. DU JARDIN. 1. outside of a Farrier's Shop; a Farrier shoeing an Ox; a Peasant and a Boy standing by; painted in a thin but clear Tone; the sky silvery and brilliant - a sweet Gem'). Bt North for £126 (acc. to Buchanan, 1824, ii, p. 181); London, Sir Francis Bourgeois, 1811; Bourgeois Bequest, 1811.
  • Inscriptions: K. DV. IARDIN fe
  • Further Information: Dujardin was a leading Dutch painter of Italianate landscapes. Figures and animals feature prominently in Dujardin's landscapes. A Smith shoeing an Oxis a typical bamboccianti subject, enjoying the commonplace scene of working life. The naturalism of the ox demonstrates Dujardin's familiarity with the work of Paulus Potter.A Smith shoeing an Ox(DPG 82) was at one time in the collection of George Crawford or Craufurd, a Scottish merchant who had spent much of his life in Rotterdam. At the sale of his collection in 1806 the picture was bought, along with Wouwerman'sHalt of Cavaliers at an Innby ‘North,' who was probably acting for Bourgeois, a friend of the Crawford family.
  • Artist: Du Jardin, Karel
  • Acquisition Method: Bourgeois, Sir Peter Francis (Bequest, 1811)

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