Gerson Digital : Germany I


5.7 Landscape, Animal Painting and Still-Life in Nuremberg

Some Dutch landscape and animal painters settled in Nuremberg as well. Actually, it only was one family that attracted a few other like-minded artists. In a similar way as the Roos family in Frankfurt, Willem van Bemmel (1630-1708) from Utrecht, his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren maintained the Dutch tradition into the 18th century and beyond in Nuremberg [1].1 Willem van Bemmel, a pupil of Herman Saftleven, soon went to Italy and, after a short stay in England, was for six years in the service of the Landgrave of Kassel, before he settled in Nuremberg in 1662. There he must have painted a lot and found many amateurs for his landscapes. Sandrart owned some of Van Bemmels paintings himself and also knew several others in art collections in Southern Germany. Van Bemmel’s style was purely 'Utrecht' in the manner of Jan Both [2]2 and Herman van Swanevelt, whose works he could have studied in Utrecht or on Italy. Similar to these artists he painted ‘italian landscapes’, also after his return from the sunny south during the many years he had left in Nuremberg [3-4].3

His son Johann Georg van Bemmel (1669-1723) had this Utrecht style, so to speak, second-hand, which is hardly noticeable though. We easily can find the sort of landscapes he made, with hunters and travellers, with Adriaen Bloemaert and Charles de Hooch [5].4

Willem van Bemmel
The Neutor in Nuremberg, c. 1680-1690
canvas, oil paint 73,5 x 93,5 cm
Nuremberg, Germanisches Nationalmuseum, inv./ Gm1450

Willem van Bemmel
Italianate riverlandscape with hunters resting
canvas, oil paint 71 x 100,8 cm
lower left : W. Bemel
Nuremberg, Germanisches Nationalmuseum, inv./ Gm 393

Willem van Bemmel
Hilly landscape with a big tree in the foreground, dated 1660
blue-grey paper, black chalk, white chalk, grey wash 282 x 341 mm
below, right of the middle : WBemmel · f 1660 [WB in ligature]
Braunschweig, Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum

Willem van Bemmel and attributed to Johann Heinrich Roos
River landscape with resting shepherdess and cattle, c. 1665-1685
canvas, oil paint 105 x 150 cm
Dessau (Saksen-Anhalt), private collection Friedrich II Herzog von Anhalt

Johann Georg von Bemmel
Landscape with shepherds
canvas, oil paint 64,8 x 81,7
lower center : G. v. Bemmel
Koblenz (Germany), Mittelrhein-Museum, inv./ MRM M 44

At least for a while also Johann Philip Lemke (1631-1711) swims in this Jan Both-like stream, which was dominant in Nuremberg (in imitation of Willem van Bemmel?).5 He had been a pupil of Evert Decker and Matthias Scheits in Hamburg and learned with Jacob de Wet I in Haarlem in 1649-1651 [6].6 From there he returned to Nuremberg for a short while, before he travelled to Italy, where he stayed for many years. Thereafter he painted for 10 years in Nuremberg, before he was called to Stockholm as a court painter.

Lemke’s paintings in the taste of Both are an exception, which was to be expected from his career. He was more important and appreciated as a painter of battles and horses [7-8]. In these works the Dutch tradition mixed with compositional elements of Jacques Courtois (Bourguignon). His Dutch training becomes most clear in his etchings that originated in the 1650. One of his sheets obtained the honour of being catalogued in Rovinski’s publication on the Rembrandt pupils [9].7 Then again his sheets are close to the Haarlem animal painters such as Dirck Stoop, Pieter Verbeecq, Nicolaes Berchem and others. No paintings of this early period in his career have emerged yet.

Johann Philip Lemke after Jacob de Wet (I)
The annunciation to the shepherds, dated 1651
paper, etching 98 x 122 mm
Braunschweig, Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum, inv./ 11384; V 3345

Johann Philip Lemke
Battle between footmen and riders
canvas, oil paint 84 x 118 cm
Sibiu (Roemenië), Muzeul National Brukenthal, inv./ 679

Johann Philip Lemke
The apostle Saint James the Elder fighting against the Moors
canvas, oil paint 84,5 x 118,5 cm
Sibiu (Roemenië), Muzeul National Brukenthal, inv./ 680

Johann Franz Ermels (1641-1693), however, must have been a landscape painter close to Van Bemmel’s heart. Coming from the Rhineland, he fell unde the spell of Jan Both during his stay in Holland to such an extent, that the reminiscences of his first teacher Johannes Hulsman completely vanished. In 1660 he settled in Nuremberg, but must have made a detour to Italy in the meantime, which enhanced his training in the manner of Jan Both [10-11].8 Two years later Willem van Bemmel arrived there, who was about ten years his senior. Ermels hooked up with him enthusiastically and occasionally painted the staffage in his landscapes.

Johann Philip Lemke after Matthias Scheits
A man ginving an alms to a boy
paper, etching 58 x 72 mm
lower right : P. fec. / M.S. inv.
Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin

Johann Franz Ermels
Italianate landscape
panel, oil paint 40,6 x 55,6 cm
Frankfurt am Main, Städel Museum, inv./ 664

Johann Franz Ermels
Ruïnengewelf (Colosseum?) met tekenaars
canvas, oil paint 43 x 36,5 cm
Prague, Národní Galerie v Praze, inv./ O 333

Finally we report a few notes on still-life painters whose work was based on Dutch art. Martin Dichtl (c. 1639-1710), who was active in Vienna later on, has left behind an unsophisticated kitchen piece [12-13].9 Andreas Heldt (1661-1745) painted the usual type of hunting still-lifes à la Jan Weenix [14-16].10

Martin Dichtl
Copper and brass pots and pans on an oven top
panel, oil paint 33 x 25,7 cm
lower right : MDichtl f.
Manson & Woods Christie (London (England)) 1987-12-18, nr. 164

Martin Dichtl
Pot and bowls on an oven top
panel, oil paint 24,5 x 33,5 cm
lower center : MD
Dorotheum (Wenen) 1969-06-17 - 1969-06-20, nr. 36

Andreas Heldt
Poultry on a rock in a forest with a dog, dated 1712
canvas, oil paint 46 x 58 cm
lower center : A.. Heldt / 1712
Braunschweig, Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum, inv./ 642

Andreas Heldt
Fruit and poultry on a rock in a forest with a fox and a dog, pendant dated 1712
canvas, oil paint 46 x 58 cm
Braunschweig, Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum, inv./ 642

Andreas Heldt
Fruit and poultry on a rock in a forest with a fox and a dog, 1rst quarter 18th century
canvas, oil paint 43,5 x 33 cm
Braunschweig, Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum, inv./ 642

Franz Rösel von Rosenhof (1628-1700) was said to have succesfully challenged Christopher Paudiss in a painting contest, which saddened the later so much that he died of sorrow [18-19].11 The kitchen and animal pieces that are known to us by the hand of Rösel make us seriously doubt the judgement of any art critic who preferred Rösel over Paudiss [17].12

Johann Andreas Graff, the unhappy husband of Maria Sybilla Merian, was trained as a still-life painter by Jacob Marrel [20]. However, later on he focused on perspective painting and engraving [21].13

Franz Rösel von Rosenhof
Kitchen interior, dated 1659
canvas, oil paint 113 x 160 cm
Manson & Woods Christie (London (England)) 1974-02-15, nr. 19

Franz Rösel von Rosenhof
Wolf, fox and sheep, dated 1666
canvas, oil paint 122 x 187 cm
lower left : Franz Rösel a (?) Rosenhoff fe. (?) Anno Christi 1666 Norimbergae
Freising, Diözesan Museum für Christliche Kunst, inv./ L 9004

Christopher Paudiss
Wolf, fox and sheep, dated 1666
canvas, oil paint 123 x 183,5 cm
lower left : Cristofher Paudiß / 1666
Freising, Diözesan Museum für Christliche Kunst, inv./ 9003

Johann Andreas Graff
Vanitas still life, dated 168[.]
canvas, oil paint 56 x 58,5 cm
lower center : JAGraff·p·i6[8?]
Dorotheum (Vienna) 2006-12-12, nr. 8

Johann Ulrich Kraus after Johann Andreas Graff published by Johann Andreas Graff
View on 'Die Neue Bau' in Nuremberg, dated 1693
paper, etching, 2nd state 344 x 478 mm
Braunschweig, Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum, inv./ JUKraus AB 2.25


1 [Van Leeuwen 2017] On Willem van Bemmel: Eiermann/Schwesinger 2006.

2 [Van Leeuwen 2017] This work in the Germanisches Nationalmuseum has been attributed to Jan Both until 1995, when it was recognized by Marijke de Kinkelder (RKD) as a work by Willem van Bemmel. Eiermann/Schwesinger 2006, p. 188, no. WII.5, ill. (color).

3 [Gerson 1942/1983] Images in Bierman 1914, no. 62 and 325

4 [Van Leeuwen 2017] Eiermann/Schwesinger 2006, p. 142-143

5 [Van Leeuwen 2017} On Lemke: Tacke et al. 2001, p. 506-507.

6 [Gerson 1942/1983] Benedict 1922. He also etched after paintings by Jacob de Wet I.

7 [Gerson 1942/1983] The sheet in Rovinski 1894, vol. 2, col. 73, no. 74B (Atlas 434), of which Benedict published a first state [Benedict 1922, p. 733, ill. 735, as ‘Marten Sorgh’] is in my opinion etched after a design of Matthias Scheits.

8 [Van Leeuwen 2017] On Ermerls: Tacke et al. 2001, p. 399-400. The painting in Prague has previously been attributed to Jan Asselijn and Herman van Swanevelt but was recently recognized as a work by Ermels by Stefan Bartilla (Bartilla/Seifertová/Ševčík 2010-2011, p. 84-85, no. 4, ill.).

9 [Gerson 1942/1983] Auction London 1936-06-02, no. 135. [Van Leeuwen 2017] A 'MD' monogrammed still-life appeared at the auction 584 at Dorotheum, Vienna 17/20 June 19969 (illustrated here). Other attributions: RKDimages 286081, 286083 and 286085.

10 [Gerson 1942/1983] In the museum in Braunschweig are three paintings by a A. Heldt, who probably is identical to our Nuremberger painter. [Van Leeuwen 2017] Jacoby/Michels 1989, p. 148-150, no. 642, 643 and 664. There also surfaced a signed and dated (1744) flower piece in a private collection in Poland in 1939 (RKDimages 284099), if this indeed concerns the same painter. Slightly later active in Nuremberg was the still-life painter Georg Held (active 1710-1756), who painted a copy after Johannes Fijt (Ansbach castle) as well as a still-life with shells (RKDimages 281769).

11 [Gerson 1942/1983] Sandrart/Peltzer 1675/1925, p. 349-350.

12 [Gerson 1942/1983] Kitchen interior in Auction London 1923-04-12, no. 161. Landscapes with animals in the Bavarian collections. [Van Leeuwen 2017] A Trompe l'oeil of a capuchin monkey in his crate (RKDimages 248677) that was auctioned in 2007 and 2012, was (wrongly) attributed to him.

13 [Van Leeuwen 2017] On the town views of Nuremberg by Graff: Noll 2017.

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