Pieter Crijnse Volmarijn (attr.) - The young Neptunus
17th century old master painting "The young Neptune" attributed to Pieter Crijnse Volmarijn
Pieter Crijnse Volmarijn was born in Rotterdam in 1629, he was an accomplished artist and has been named as the Rotterdam-follower of the Antwerp school, a description which accurately reflects his style. Both his father, Crijn Hendricksz Volmarijn (c.1601–1645) and his uncle Hendrik Maertensz Sorgh, were painters. According his historic documents, the latter trained the young Pieter the passing of his father.
In contrast to paintings by Sorgh, who mainly focused on peaceful genre scenes with peasants, Pieters works are characterised by the warm color palette as well as the particular handling and rendering of the faces and fabrics. Whilst they strongly echo the spirit of the Antwerp school and especially Jordaens’ oeuvre, they do so in Volmarijns own signature way. An intriguing piece of information which sheds a light on the life and upbringing of Pieter Crijnse Volmarijn is an inventory which was compiled in 1646 after the passing of his mother Tryntge. This lists, amongst other possessions, a comprehensive collection of more than 300 paintings, encompassing works by artists like Frans Hals, Balthasar van der Ast, Isaac van Ostade, Salomon van Ruysdael, Pieter Mulier, Abraham van Beijeren, Willem Buytewech, and 'two head studies by Rembrandt.' But most intriguingly, works by and after Jacob Jordaens, which gives us concrete proof that Pieter was indeed intimately familiar with this great master. It has often been assumed that he was also a student of Jordaens and Pieter was described by Jan Sysmus as a "discipel van Jordaens and Bramer". However, there is yet to be found more conclusive proof for this.
What is undoubtedly clear, is that Pieter Crijnse Volmarijn was a very talented artist who united both Northern and Southern Netherlandish influences in his works. This makes his oeuvre is an interesting case-study and example for the exchange of artistic ideas and concepts between the Northern and Southern Netherlands in the 17th century. This is an intriguing topic which has recently been receiving more attention in art historical circles and we are very proud that we can offer this very rare and important painting in our gallery.
Jacob Jordaens (1593-1678) was a Flemish Baroque painter who made notable contributions to art history. He was born in Antwerp, Belgium, on May 19, 1593, and he spent the majority of his life in his hometown. Jordaens received his early artistic training from Adam van Noort and later became a prominent figure in the Flemish Baroque movement, alongside artists like Peter Paul Rubens and Anthony van Dyck. He was known for his versatility, painting a wide range of subjects, including religious scenes, mythology, allegorical works, and portraits. His art was characterized by vibrant colors and dynamic compositions that captured the energy of his subjects. He had a significant influence on the development of genre painting, particularly in depicting scenes from everyday life with a rustic and humorous touch. His legacy extended to later Flemish artists, such as David Teniers the Younger. Jordaens' works are included in several prestigious museums worldwide, including the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, the Louvre in Paris, the National Gallery in London, the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, the Getty Center in Los Angeles, and more. His paintings continue to be celebrated for their vibrant and dynamic compositions.
As with many of Volmarijns' paintings, the exact theme of our painting is slightly mysterious. Neptune, known as Neptunus, is a vital figure in Roman mythology, revered as the divine ruler of the seas and a guardian of those who venture upon its waters. His trident and association with aquatic life make him an iconic and enduring symbol of the sea's power and mysteries. He holds a significant place in the Roman pantheon, equivalent to the Greek god Poseidon. Neptune is typically depicted as a mature and imposing figure, often seen wielding a trident, a three-pronged spear-like weapon. This trident symbolizes his dominion over the seas and his authority over the watery depths. As the god of the sea, Neptune's influence extends over various aspects of maritime life and activities. He is regarded as a protector of sailors, ensuring safe voyages and calm seas. His purview includes fishing, navigation, and all matters related to the oceans and bodies of freshwater. Neptune is usually depicted as a mature deity and because of this our painting raises the question if it might not depict his son Triton. However, Triton, a seagod, is described as being a merman or a young sea creature with a human upper body and a fish-like lower body.
Private collection Germany (as circle of Jordaens)
The oil on canvas measures ca. 95 by 86 cms and with the frame ca. 110 by 101 cms.
Literature on the artist:
P. Haverkorn van Rijsewijk, 'Rotterdamsche Schilders, De schilders Volmarijn', Oud-Holland 112 (1894), p. 136-159
R.A. d'Hulst, 'Pieter Crijnse Volmarijn, een Rotterdamse navolger van de Antwerpse schildersschool uit de 17de eeuw', Mededelingen van de Koninklijke Academie voor Wetenschappen, Letteren en Schone Kunsten van België, Klasse der Schone Kunsten, 32/1, p. 1 ff.
N. Schadee [ed.], exh.cat. Rotterdamse Meesters uit de Gouden Eeuw, Rotterdam (Historisch Museum), 1994, p. 307
M. Diaz Padron, ‘ Dos lienzos identificados de Pieter Crijnse Volmarijn en el Ermitage de San Petersburgo y galería de los Uffizi de Florencia’, Archivo Español de Arte, 84/335 (2011), p. 276-282