King David Playing the Harp, ca. 1616, extended in the late 1640s (Inv. No. 1043)
“King David Playing the Harp” by Peter Paul Rubens and Jan Boeckhorst has numbered among the outstanding examples of Flemish Baroque painting in the Städel Museum since 1867. It also illustrates the workshop practice of those years for only part of the work is by Rubens’ hand: the head was painted by him as a study on a small panel in 1616. It was only after his death that Boeckhorst, a former member of his workshop, extended the “tronje” by two boards, transforming it into King David’s full portrait. The exhibition explored Rubens’ use of the “tronje” and elucidated its extension by Boeckhorst who not only left Rubens’ head “uncrowned” but completely untouched.
The presentation also documented the contemporary reception of Boeckhorst’s “David”. As a further example for a study head by Rubens, a loan from a private collection, which was equally offered at the Antwerp art market after a similar extension, provided the visitor with an additional point of reference.
CURATOR: Dr. Agnes Tieze, Städel Museum
SPONSORED BY: Schering Stiftung