Gerson Digital : Germany I


3.6 Heidelberg and Mannheim

Several wandering Dutch artist were able to earn some money for a short while at the Palatinate court in Heidelberg and later in Mannheim, without becoming real court artists like their colleagues in Düsseldorf. The Berckheyde brothers, Gerrit and Job, journeyed up the Rhine and first spent time in Cologne and Bonn, where they painted and sold their works, before they ended up in Heidelberg and Mannheim. They depicted the elector and his household, going for a hunt [1-3] (paintings in Copenhagen, Leipzig and Heidelberg).1

Gerrit Berckheyde
View of Heidelberg with the castle, seen from the opposite bank of the Neckar river
canvas, oil paint 66 x 115 cm
bottom (positional attribute) : Gerrit Berck.Heyde
Copenhagen, SMK - National Gallery of Denmark, inv./ KMSsp536

Jan Blom
Wooded landscape with a deer hunt
canvas, oil paint 61,5 x 84,5 cm
Leipzig, Museum der bildenden Künste Leipzig, inv./ 300

Gerrit Berckheyde
View of Heidelberg with the castle, seen from the opposite bank of the Neckar river, dated 1670
canvas, oil paint 62 x 95 cm
lower left : berckheyde 1670 (?)
Heidelberg (Germany), Kurpfälzisches Museum

Heidelberg Castle and its surroundings have been drawn and painted repeatedly by Dutch and Flemish artists [4]. Here we only draw attention to the anonymous drawings in Stuttgart [5] and the print model of a Monogrammist J.C.2

Jacques Fouquier
View of the Castle of Heidelberg with the Hortus Palatinus from the east, c. 1616-1619
canvas, oil paint 178,5 x 263 cm
Heidelberg (Germany), Kurpfälzisches Museum, inv./ G 1822

Meester van het Kurpfälzisches Skizzenbuch
View of Heidelberg
paper, pen in brown ink, brown and red wash 170/166 x 319 mm
Stuttgart, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, inv./ C 97

Johann Baptist de Ruel
Portrait of Karl I Ludwg, Elector Palatine (1617-1680), 1676
canvas, oil paint 123,5 x 98 cm
Heidelberg (Germany), Kurpfälzisches Museum

In the 1660s the two German artists Johann Heinrich Roos (1631-1685) and his brother Theodor Roos (1638-1698?) were active at the Palatine court. With them the Dutch-Italianate landscape painting became familiar here, to which we will return later.3 Towards 1672 Jan and Jacob Bunnik came from Frankfurt to Heidelberg and Speyer, where they supposedly worked for Karl I Ludwig (1617-1680) [6] and counsellor Jonkmann.4 In 1658 the brothers Wallerant and Bernard Vaillant used the title of a ’peintre au chateau d’Heidelberg’.5 They also came from Frankfurt, where they had stayed a while. However, all of this is not significant. Toussaint Gelton (c. 1630-1680) was sent to Heidelberg by King Christian V of Denmark, to paint the electress.6

Gerard van Honthorst
Allegory of Justice. The History of the Winter King's family, dated 1636
canvas, oil paint 313 x 478 cm
lower right : GHonthorst fe 1636
Boston (Massachusetts), Museum of Fine Arts Boston

The collection of Heidelberg Castle appears not to have been of major importance, which is understandable when one considers the unfortunate politics of the Winter King, who had to leave his country in 1620. After the death of Elector Karl II (1651-1685), to whom the Palatine was assigned by the emperor, the possessions were divided. Some paintings came into the collection of the Duke of Orléans; others ended up in Hannover, Mannheim, apart from the rest, which was auctioned. The core of the collection consisted of portraits by Dutch artists such as Michiel van Mierevelt, Daniel Mijtens, Gerard van Honthorst [7-9],7 Bartholomeus van der Helst (?), Jacques Vaillant as well as works by Johann Ulrich Mayr and Joachim von Sandrart I and many Flemish portrait painters. Furthermore there were pictures from the marine painters Hendrick Vroom and Jan Porcellis, next to works by Cornelis van Poelenburch, Egbert van Heemskerck and Adriaen van der Cabel.8

Gerard van Honthorst
Portrait of Moritz, Prince Palatine (1621-1654), dated 164[0?]
panel, oil paint 75 x 60 cm
left center : GHonthorst 164[0?]
Private collection

Gerard van Honthorst
Portrait of Edward, Prince Palatine (1625-1663) or Philip, Prince Palatine (1627-1650), c. 1638
panel, oil paint 75 x 60 cm
Private collection

The collection in Mannheim Castle became more important in the beginning of the 18th century when a part of the famous Düsseldorf gallery was incorporated. From there it was taken into safety from the French in 1758, but after six years Elector Carl Theodor (1724-1799) [10] sent the collection back. He himself had a predilection for Dutch cabinet pieces, which he collected with a lot of taste: Gerard Dou, Frans van Mieris, Adriaen and Isaac van Ostade, Gerard ter Borch, Jan Steen, Karel Dujardin, but he also owned two paintings by Rembrandt [11-12].9 German artists studied these Dutch pictures frequently, but this brings us far into the 18th century, about which we will speak in another place.10

Anna Dorothea Therbusch
Portrait of Carl Theodor, Elector of Bavaria (1724-1799), dated 1763
canvas, oil paint 82 x 65,5 cm
Mannheim (Germany), Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen

The Holy Family, c. 1634
canvas, oil paint 183,5 x 123 cm
Munich, Alte Pinakothek, inv./ 1318

studio of Rembrandt and Rembrandt or studio of Rembrandt free after Rembrandt
The sacrifice of Abraham (Genesis 22:10-12), dated 1636
canvas, oil paint 195 x 132,3 cm
below, right of the middle : Rembrandt. verandert. En overgeschildert. 1636
Munich, Alte Pinakothek, inv./ 438


1 [Gerson 1942/1983] Zangemeister 1890, p. 295-297; Zangemeister 1896, p. 248 [Van Leeuwen 2017] The painting in Leipzig, traditionally attributed to both Gerrit and Job Berckheyde, was reattributed to Jan Blom by Marijke de Kinkelder, former employee of the RKD, which not has been published previously. Another version of the Copenhagen and Heidelberg compositions: Christie's 1971-03-26, no. 115 (RKDimages 275735).

2 [Gerson 1942/1983] Zangemeister 1886, p. 53-59.

3 See esp. § 5.1.

4 [Gerson 1942/1983] Houbraken 1718-1721, vol. 3, p. 340 (‘Raadsheer Jonkmans’).

5 See § 1.5 and 5.3.The ‘title’ refers to an inscription on a painting by Wallerant Vaillant of a Letter rack in Dresden (RKDimages 268168).

6 [Van Leeuwen 2017] Gerson/Van Leeuwen/Roding et al. 2015, passim.

7 [Van Leeuwen 2017] The illustrated works could be identified from the inventory of 1685 (Zangemeister/Thode 1896). The History of the Winter King's family (Zangemeister/Thode 1896, p. 198) is restored and on loan to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston since 2013. The portraits of the two sons of Friedrich V and Elisabeth Stuart (Zangemeister/Thode 1896, p. 197 and 202) are now in a private collection in Heidelberg.

8 [Gerson 1942/1983] Zangemeister/Thode 1896, p. 192 (Thode interprets a sea harbour by Van der Cabel as a Van de Capelle). Sandrart also mentions paintings by Esaias van der Velde that he had seen in Heidelberg (Sandrart/Peltzer 1675/1925, p. 311).

9 [Van Leeuwen 2017] Wegner 1960, esp. p. 36-40.

10 [Van Leeuwen 2017] Gerson 1942/1983, p. 324.

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