Lot n° 279
50000 - 60000
Result without fees
: 350 000EUR
HANS BOL (1534-1593)
Hans BOL (1534-1593)
Ball games in front of a castle
Pen and brown ink, brown wash
19.2 x 26.5 cm
Signed and dated "Hans Bol 1580" in pen at bottom
Born in Mechelen, Hans Bol first learned the technique of painting in tempera on canvas, before developing his important graphic work of wash drawings, gouaches and prints. In 1572, after the arrival of the Spanish, Hans Bol left Malines to take refuge in Antwerp, where he was admitted to the Academy of Saint Luke in 1574. In 1584, with the Spanish threatening Antwerp, he left for the Netherlands, eventually settling in Amsterdam, where he died in 1593.
Bol's drawings reveal his leading role in the development of landscape art in the Netherlands. His landscapes are often populated by human figures representing biblical or ordinary characters. He blends realistic details with imaginary elements. In his approach to landscape art, Bol was influenced by the work of his contemporary Pieter Bruegel the Elder. With this master, he also shared a preference for depicting the seasons and months of the year. Bruegel had revived this medieval tradition with his monumental Months series, painted in 1565. In the following years, Hans Bol made drawings for a series of prints depicting the four seasons. When Bruegel died in 1569, the spring and summer models were the only ones completed. It was Bol, approached by Jérôme Cock, who executed the drawings for autumn and winter, proof of the high esteem in which he was held from the 1570s onwards. Thanks to this commission, the young Bol effectively became Bruegel's successor.
The 1580s were a period of maturity for Hans Bol. He conceived further series of the four seasons, including the characteristic activities of each. He also produced a number of topographical drawings with views of various towns, often executed in gouache.
Our drawing is a blend of these two types of subject, as it features a typical Dutch castle in the background, with a number of everyday activities in front of the building. The same type of castle can be found in other drawings by Hans Bol: a wash study sold at Sotheby's and a gouache on vellum formerly in the Valkema Blouw collection.
Our view of the castle is a pretext for presenting numerous little scenes from everyday life: we can see men playing ball games, a couple going for a boat ride, animals lounging, the arrival (or departure) of a horseman in the castle courtyard...
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