CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Erasmus II Quellinus (1607-1678) in the Keizerskapel Antwerpen

Presentation: 30 March - 5 August 2024

From Saturday 30 March until Monday 5 August 2024, the Keizerskapel in Antwerp will present two paintings from Quellinus’ period of collaboration with Rubens.

Both paintings, which have only recently appeared, were unknown when the catalogues raisonnés (Erasmus II Quellinus, Freren 1988, Cassel 2014) were published. Both paintings are on panel (27 x 23 cm), unsigned, but clearly referring to the ‘early’ Erasmus II Quellinus (1607-1678). One represents the Holy Virgin with Child, Elisabeth and Saint John, the other the Holy Family. The modello for the first (oil on panel, 34,5 x 28 cm, 1635-40) was sold in Monaco in 1986. A print after this modello bears the signatures of both the engraver Peter II de Jode (1606-1674) and the inventor Erasmus II Quellinus. Of particular interest is the discovery of the pendant, which is also clearly in the style of Erasmus II. Both paintings date from the period when he worked closely with Rubens (1635-40).

Together with his brother, the sculptor Artus I (1609-1668), and his brother-in-law Peter I Verbrugghen (1615-1686), Erasmus II was an important exponent of the so-called Classical Baroque in Antwerp. Their works, dating from the 1650’s (the high altar and the confessional) can still be admired in the Keizerskapel. The Quellinus family was significantly involved in the decoration of this church. And during the last quarter of the seventeenth century, Peter II (1648-1691) and Hendrick Franciscus Verbrugghen (1654-1724), sons of Peter I, were responsible for the pulpit (1689) in the Keizerskapel (preliminary drawing is in the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam). The nephew Artus II Quellinus (1625-1700) is also present with a Salvator Mundi on top of the high altar. Which, of course, complements this presentation in the Keizerskapel of their family member Erasmus II.

Text by dr. Jean-Pierre Désiré de Bruyn