Landscape with Figures

Anton Goubau17th century

Dulwich Picture Gallery

Dulwich Picture Gallery

Goubau was in Rome in the 1640s, but seems mainly to have painted market scenes with numerous figures. He returned to Antwerp by 1650, where he joined the Jesuit order in 1655.

Previously attributed to Jan Miel, this small painting on copper has also been connected to other artists, such as Jacob van Staveren. Whoever painted it, the work certainly has the hallmarks of the ‘Dutch Italianate’ style, with, perhaps, a little something extra in the way of psychological tension between the two figures.

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  • Title: Landscape with Figures
  • Date: 17th century
  • Physical Dimensions: w300 x h204 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil
  • Work Notes: NOT in 1802 cat.Beresford mentions correspondence with Kren and Trezzani but these letters are not in the file. He writes ‘Kren rejected the attribution to Miel, proposing that to Goubau. Trezzani rejected the attribution to Goubau, suggesting analogies with the work of Bourdon (q.v.) and the Master of the Small Trades. DPG20 might also be the work of Jacob van Staveren, as P. Sutton proposed (letter on file, 1990), citing a comparable composition sold as Van Staveren at Sotheby’s Amsterdam, 22 May 1989 (lot 1). Kren maintains the attribution to Goubau (letter on file, 1997)
  • Work Nationality: Dutch
  • Support: Copper
  • Provenance: London, Noel Desenfans, ?1786-1807: ?London, Christie's, Desenfans private sale, 8ff. Apr. 1786, lot 346; London, Sir Francis Bourgeois, 1807-1811; Bourgeois Bequest, 1811; 1813 inv., no. 330 (as 'Mola').
  • Further Information: This painting was formerly attributed to Jan Miel due to possible traces of a monogram JM, but this seems to have been a misreading of meaningless brushstrokes. It has since been attributed to Bourdon, the Master of the Small Trades, Jacob van Straveren, but has most recently been attributed to Anton Goubau. Goubau was a Flemish painter active in Italy. Rather than rendering exact topographical views, he wanted to evoke an Italianate atmosphere, as in this scene which shows a medieval fort and farm house basking in warm, yellow sunlight. In the foreground a solider loads his gun as a young shepherdess abandons her lute and gazes up at him; both accoutrement may be seen to hold erotic allusions , and , indeed, the dog, a symbol of fidelity, is distracted and looks elsewhere. The composition is painted on copper panel, allowing for great precision and lending a luminous finish.
  • Attributed to: Goubau, Anton
  • Acquisition Method: Bourgeois, Sir Peter Francis (Bequest, 1811)