top of page

Abraham van Diepenbeeck (Den Bosch 1596-1675 Antwerp)

The Lamentation

black chalk, pen and brown ink, brown wash, pen and brown ink framing lines
9 x 15 cm

Johann Georg, Herzog von Saxen, (1869-1938), Dresden (L. 4483).

Abraham van Diepenbeeck was one of the most prolific draughtsman from Rubens’ circle. Over 500 sheets can be attributed to him today and, as Saskia van Altena recently observed, Diepenbeeck’s ‘vast oeuvre arguably made him one of the most important artists responsible for the dissemination of the Flemish Baroque idiom, especially after Rubens’s death. [1]
The Lamentation shown in this small yet powerful drawing was a subject often treated by Van Diepenbeeck. An oil painting, measuring 44 x 33.8 cm, showing a Lamentation in a landscape setting with a cross in the background was recently with Rafael Valls, London. [2] A drawing of the subject, executed with the same characteristic bold penwork but more finished and more richly staffed, was sold at auction in 1997. [3]

Yet another drawing of the Lamentation, which is a design for a stained-glass window, freely executed in black chalk and brown ink, is with Galerie de Lowet de Wotrenge. [4] In terms of style and size, the drawing can furthermore be compared to two drawings measuring 9.5 x 15.5 and 8.6 x 15.5 cm respectively, now in the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam. [5]
Despite its small size, Diepenbeeck charged the present drawing with an expressive and emotional quality through his characteristic, vigorous penwork. The highly emotional nature and importance of the moment are further highlighted by the putto at right, who points at Christ’s wounded feet and holds nails from the cross, and the angel at left with his hands clasped in despair. The loss on a more personal level is embodied by Mary, who holds Christ’s arm in her left hand while making a sign of blessing.

[1] S. van Altena, '"Rubens's most truthful follower": Abraham van Diepenbeeck as a Draftsman', Master Drawings, vol. 58, no. 4 (Winter 2020), p. 493.
[2] with Rafael Valls, 2014 (see exhib. cat., Recent Acquisitions, 2014).
[3] Anonymous sale; Christie’s, Amsterdam, 10 November 1997, lot 384.
[4] S. van Altena, op. cit., p. 496, fig. 3.
[5] inv. MB 5057 (PK) and MB 5058 (PK).

bottom of page