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Jan Worst

(active around 1645 to 1660)

The Ruins of the Nymphaeum on the Esquiline Hill. Point of brush with grey wash over black chalk. 20.1 x 26.6 cm. Schatborn 2020, cat. no. 5.

Jan Worst, whose biographical data can be deduced mainly from his works, was probably a pupil of Jan Asselijn, who in turn was influenced by the draughtsman Pieter van Laer. Worst was in Italy around 1650, in France in 1655/56 – his work at this stage being similar in style to that of Frederik de Moucheron – and back in the Netherlands in 1656.

The present sheet was included in the catalogue of Jan Worst’s drawings recently compiled by Peter Schatborn (Peter Schatborn, “Drawings by Jan Worst”, in: Master Drawings, vol. LVIII (2020), no. 1, New York, pp. 29–78, cat. no. 5, p. 38 f.). The drawing, which is captivating in its simplicity and undoubtedly made after nature, has been executed in a sovereign brush technique that is characteristic of many Dutch Italianates. A certain uniformity in this respect often complicates an attribution to individual artists working in Rome at the time. Worst has used vigorous, effective washes to contrast the shaded side of the overgrown ruin with the glaring backlight. From the collection of Q. van Regteren Altena (Lugt 4617).

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