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Hendrik Voogd (Amsterdam 1768-1839 Rome)

The Ruins of the Colosseum, Rome

signed ‘Voogd’ (recto) and inscribed ‘a Colliceo’ (verso)
black chalk, black chalk framing lines, watermark D&C Blauw and crowned fleur-de-lys
48.3 x 40.1 cm

Private collection, Italy.
Private collection, The Netherlands.

Drawings by Hendrik Voogd, especially large ones such as the present sheet, are quite rare on the market. In 1959 a large group of them was discovered at Duivenvoorde Castle near Leiden and the finest eighteen drawings were auctioned, while the remaining 200 sheets or so were divided into more or less equal groups of ten to fifteen drawings of which many were acquired by Dutch museums and a few collectors. [1] Many of the sheets acquired by the latter have found their way into public collections since.

Hendrik Voogd was one of the favourite pupils of Jurriaan Andriessen (1742-1819) and had as his patron Dirk Versteegh (1751-1822). The latter ensured that Voogd could travel to Italy to study its grand and graceful nature. Many Dutch artists before him had made a sojourn to Italy, but this influx of Dutch artist, came to a halt in circa 1725. Some 50 years later, in 1779, it was Jean Grandjean (1752-1781) who was the first to travel to Italy again followed by Daniel Dupré in 1786 and Voogd in 1788. When the artist arrived in Rome in that year he joined a group of German artists and became particularly close friends with Johann Christian Reinhart (1761-1847) and Simon Denis (1755-1813). As early as 1805, a Dutch Grand Tourist, not without prejudice, testified that Voogd had gained a reputation as ‘the Dutch Claude Lorrain.’ [2] His paintings were indeed highly sought after by German travellers, and later, when they could travel across the continent again after the Napoleonic Wars, by English Grand Tourists. Collectors and connoisseurs appreciated Voogd’s working method which was deeply rooted in the Dutch 17th century tradition, while in his compositions and the subtle rendering of southern light, he aptly followed the French masters. Voogd, who remained unmarried, was based in Rome until his death in 1839, but he always maintained contact with his homeland, visited it several times, and sent various paintings to sales exhibitions there. After his death, his studio estate was sent to Amsterdam where it was auctioned in 1842. The Duivenvoorde drawings were most likely almost identical to the contents of two portfolios containing ‘kapitale tekeningen’ and one with smaller ones was part of that auction. [3]
This attractive study can stylistically be compared with a View in the upper corridors in the Colosseum in the Rijksmuseum. [4] They exhibit not only stylistic similarities such as the lively interplay of light and dark but also the method of hatching using short strokes that are continued by others. They too are comparable in their large format. While around 1800 outdoor studies were usually made on relatively small formats, especially German artists in Italy also produced drawings on large sheets such as the present one. Voogd adopted this, perhaps from Reinhart (1761-1847), with whom he undertook several study trips where they used their large drawing portfolios as a surface. [5]
The phonetic spelling on the verso of the drawing could indicate that the sheet dates from the early years of artist’s time in Rome. A striking detail is the superabacus on the inside of the pillar, intended to bear the load of the arch. This construction is also clearly visible in a drawing of Shepherds and Cattle near the Colosseum made by Willem Romeyn in 1693. [6]

[1] see C.J. de Bruyn Kops, ‘Hendrik Voogd. Nederlands Landschapschilder te Rome (1768-1839)’, in Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek 21 (1970), pp. 319-369, especially pp. 320 en 338. See also Fransje Kuyvenhoven, ‘De Leidse collectie tekeningen en grafiek van Hendrik Voogd’, in Leids Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek 1985 (1987), pp. 269-286.
[2] R. van Eijnden and A. van der Willigen, 'Geschiedenis der Vaderlandsche Schilderkunst, sedert de helft der XVIII eeuw', Haarlem, 1830 [reprint, Amsterdam, 1979], vol. 3, p. 343.
[3] Sale; 15-16 August 1842 (Lugt 16679), resp. portfolios K, L and M; N consisted of studies of animals. See C.J. Bruyn Kops, op cit., note 50, p. 338.
[4] inv. RP-T-1959-482
[5] W. Loos' et al.', 'On Country Roads and Fields. The Depiction of the 18th- and 19th-century Landscape', Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, exhib. cat., 1997, nos. 17, 30 and 31.
[6] Sale; The I.Q. van Regteren Altena Collection, Part II, Christie’s, Amsterdam, 10 December 2014, lot 251; see also I. Oud et al., 'In de ban van Italië. Tekeningen uit een Amsterdamse verzameling', Amsterdam, Amsterdam Museum, exhib. cat., 1995, no. 25.

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