Gerson Digital : Germany I


7.8 The Bohemian Painting Collections

The large landowners of Bohemia loved paintings. We hear that Ottavio Piccolomini(1599-1656) employed Wolfgang Heimbach [1],1 and that the counts of Lobkowitz had several portraitists in their service at Roudnice Castle.2 Since 1683 we find the Dutchman (?) Jodokus Verbeeck (c. 1646-1700) working there as a portraitist [2-4].3 His works do not look very Dutch, no more than those of a native Georg Adam Eberhard (Ϯ 1691) [5-6] and those of Michael Conrad Hirt II (1649-1704) [7] from Regensburg, who all somewhat represent the level of style of Netscher-Verkolje. Many Dutch portraits have come into the collection through inheritance, other works were acquired by Prince Wenzel Eusebius z Lobkowicz (1609-1677)[8] in Vienna. Among them were paintings by (or after) Gerard Dou, Christoph Paudiss [9], Klaes Molenaer, Adam Willaerts, Jan Esselens and others.4

Wolfgang Heimbach
Portrait of an unknown woman, dated 1651
copper, oil paint 40 x 29 cm
lower right : CHMP/W Prag 1651
Olomouc, Olomouc Museum of Art

Jodokus Verbeeck
Portrait of Norbert Leopold Libsteinsky of Kolowrat, dated 1684
canvas, oil paint 176 x 135 cm
: Jodocus Verbeck f. 1684
Rychnov nad Kněžnou, Rychnov Château, inv./ RK 230/373

Jodokus Verbeeck
Portrait of Johanna Magdalena Hrzanova, c. 1682-1684
canvas, oil paint 176 x 135 cm
: Js Verbeeckfecit 1684
Rychnov nad Kněžnou, Rychnov Château, inv./ RK 229/374

Jodokus Verbeeck
Portrait of Johana Magdalena countess Hrzán of Harasov, dated 1684
canvas, oil paint 108 x 89,5 cm
: J. Verbeeck fecit 1684
Rychnov nad Kněžnou, Rychnov Château, inv./ RK 192/359

Georg Adam Eberhard
Portrait of Ferdinand August prince of Lobkowicz (1655-1715), dated 1660
canvas, oil paint 134 x 102 cm
on the back : 1660 G.A.E.
Roudnice/Prague/Nelahozeves, Lobkowicz Collections, inv./ 67

Michael Conrad Hirt (II)
Portrait of Eleonore princess of Lobkowicz (1682-1741), c. 1690-1695
canvas, oil paint 84 x 67 cm
Roudnice, private collection Ferdinand August Fürst von Lobkowicz, inv./ 17

Georg Adam Eberhard
Portrait of Claudia Francisca of Nassau-Hadamar (1660-1680), wife of Ferdinand August of Lobkowicz, 1678
canvas, oil paint 125 x 95 cm
Roudnice, private collection Ferdinand August Fürst von Lobkowicz

(after?) Anselm van Hulle
Portrait of Wenzel Eusebius Prince of Lobkowicz (1609-1677), c. 1650-1660
canvas, oil paint 127 x 104 cm
Roudnice/Vienna, private collection Wenzel Eusebius z Lobkowicz, inv./ 401

Christopher Paudiss
Tronie of an old man
canvas, oil paint 72 x 56 cm
Roudnice/Prague/Nelahozeves, Lobkowicz Collections, inv./ 355

Before Verbeeck, Austrian portraitists must have worked already at the Castle, who approximately achieved the level of Honthorst [10-13].5

Anoniem ca. 1640-1650
Portrait of Clara Maria von Nassau-Siegen (1621-1695), c. 1640-1650
canvas, oil paint 104 x 90 cm
Prague, Lobkowicz Palace, inv./ LR4617

Ernestine Charlotte von Nassau-Siegen (Princess)
Portrait of Clara Maria van Nassau-Siegen (1621-1695), c. 1640-1650
canvas, oil paint ? x ? cm
lower center : Madame la Princesse / de Ligne faict par / Madamoiselle de Nassau / sa soeur
Private collection

Ernestine Charlotte von Nassau-Siegen (Princess)
Portrait of a woman, called Madame de Clanleu, c. 1638-1650
canvas, oil paint 104 x 90 cm
Prague, Lobkowicz Palace, inv./ LR4728

Ernestine Charlotte von Nassau-Siegen (Princess)
Portrait of a woman called Madame de Grünberg, before 1650
canvas, oil paint 104 x 90 cm
Prague, Lobkowicz Palace, inv./ LR4704

The history of the collection of the Counts of Nostitz can be traced to the 17th century, only the oldest files have unfortunately been lost. On the other hand, as we already have mentioned, many pictures, among which also Dutch ones, were sold to Vienna in the 18th century.6

The Bohemian Czernin collection can also look back on an impressive age. The Forchondt brothers already had a good customer in Count Humprecht Johann Czernin von Chudenitz (1628-1682) [14].7 Houbraken and Weyerman report that Adriaen van der Werff, as soon as he had his hands free after the death of Johann Wilhelm Palatine (1717), was able to sell three expensive pictures to Count Franz Joseph Czernin von Chudenitz (1696/97-1733) [15-18].8 The prices fluctuated between 2000 and 5500 Guilders! Some years later these works passed on in the property of Augustus the Strong, together with other Dutch pieces.9

Karel Škréta
Portrait of Humprecht Johann Count Czernin of Chudenice (1628-1682), before 1660
canvas, oil paint 149 x 116,5 cm
Prague, Národní Galerie v Praze, inv./ 19123

Philipp Christian Bentum
Portrait of Count Franz Joseph Graf Czernin of Chudenitz (1696-1733), dated 1731
canvas, oil paint ? x ? cm
Jindřichův Hradec, Jindřichův Hradec Castle

Adriaen van der Werff
Mary Magdalene reading, dated 1711
panel, oil paint 34,5 x 25,5 cm
location unknown : Chvr vr / Werff fec / an° 1711
Dresden, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden - Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, inv./ 1817 (cat. 1930)

Adriaen van der Werff
The Judgement of Paris (Hyginus 92; Lucianus, Deorum dialogi, 20), dated 1712
panel (nut), oil paint 56 x 49,5 cm
location unknown : Chevr vr Werff fec. / An° 1712
Dresden, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden - Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, inv./ 1818

Adriaen van der Werff
Maria met het kindje Jezus en de kleine Johannes, dated 1715
panel, oil paint 46 x 34 cm
lower left : Chevr vr / Werff fec / an° 1715
Dresden, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden - Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, inv./ 1819

In those days there is said to have been a Wrzowecz collection in Prague also, whose mostly Dutch pictures were acquired by the Saxon court.10 Finally, Frans Ernst von Waldstein (1661-1713) acquired a Cabinet put together along the same lines as the ones in Frankfurt: a collection of small and very small Dutch paintings, including copies, that were united within a frame of impressive dimensions. Several of such frames decorated his house as wall decoration.11 The Wallenstein Collection in Dux [now: Duchcov castle] also is the ‘source’ of some of the most famous paintings of the Dresden Gallery, such as The Procuress by Vermeer and two portraits by Frans Hals!12


1 [Gerson 1942/1983] Schlüter-Göttsche 1935, p. 16. [Van Leeuwen 2018] Heimbach painted this portrait of a woman in Prague. There are letters by Heimbach to Piccolomini of 1651 and 1652 in the Náchod archive, mentioned by Schlüter-Göttsche 1935, p. 16 and 78, ad no. 7-9. Heimbach’s portrait of Piccolomini is missing.

2 [Van Leeuwen 2018] On the collection in Roudnice castle: Dvořák/Matejka 1910. The collections of the Lobkowic family were confiscated by the communist regime in 1948 and have largely been restituted after the Velvet Revolution of 1989. The collections in Roudnice castle, Lobkowicz Palace, Nelahozeves Castle and Střekov Castle are open to the public.

3 [Van Leeuwen 2018] Verbeeck is thought to have been born in Emmerich but was possibly from Netherlandish descent. He came to Prague with his uncle Georg Bernard Verbeeck (Ϯ1673). The communication about Verbeeck working in Roudnice for Wenzel Popel count of Lobkowitz in Roudnice comes from Kramm 1857-1864, vol. 6, p. 1761. Verbeeck is documented in Prague from 1683 on, where he died in 1700 (Thieme/Becker 1907-1953, vol. 34 [1940], p. 225). Verbeeck also worked for the Kolowrat family (images illustrated here from Rychnov Castle).

4 [Gerson 1924/1983] Dvořák/Matejka 1910, passim.

5 [Van Leeuwen 2018] Gerson refers to the series of 15 portraits by the amateur painter Princess Ernestine Charlotte von Nassau-Siegen, who married Prince Moritz Heinrich von Nassau Hadamar (Dvořák/Matejka 1910, p. 151-155, no. 330-342). Pons 2013.

6 [Gerson 1942/1983] Bergner 1905; Frimmel 1909.

7 [Van Leeuwen 2018] On Count Humprecht Johann Czernin von Chudenitz: Slavíček 1996 and Juffinger 2006.

8 [Gerson 1942/1983] Houbraken 1718-1721, vol. 3, p. 403; Weyerman 1729-1769, vol. 4, p. 82.

9 [Gerson 1942/1983] The Viennese collection Czernin was founded by count Johann Rudolf (1757-1845); however, nothing came from the Bohemian collection.

10 [Van Leeuwen 2018] Gerson refers to the collection of count Felix Sekerka von Sedcic Wrschowetz (1654-1620) (for literature: RKDartists&). The spelling Gerson uses is incorrect but occurs in some (older) sources (communication Stefan Bartilla, June 2018). The collection of Wrschowetz is researched by Claudia Hofstee during her traineeship at the RKD. Her research will be presented during the symposium Collecting Dutch and Flemish painting in Germany 1600-1900 in October 2018.

11 [Gerson 1942/1983] Prague 1938, nos. 335-337.

12 [Van Leeuwen 2018] In 1741, 268 paintings from the Waldstein collection were sold to August III for the collection of the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Dresden through the mediation of gallery inspector Johann Gottfried Riedel (Marx/Hipp 2007, p. 28).

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