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Jan Worst

(active around 1645–1686)

View of a Waterfall. Brush in grey over graphite, fram­ing line in pen and brown ink. 51 x 38 cm. Watermark: Crowned Strasbourg coat of arms.

One of the striking features of drawings by the Dutch Italia­nates is a certain uniformity of style, which makes it difficult to attribute individual works to specific artists. These are spontaneous studies sketched directly from nature which have a certain stereotyped character and thus tell us less about the personal style of an artist. The present drawing of a waterfall can readily be compared to works by Adam Pynacker, Johannes Jansz. Collaert and Jan Worst which are in very similar vein. In line with the working practice of many Italianates at the time the author of this study has used a large-format sheet of drawing paper folded in the middle. The sweeping, powerful washes of the boulders in the foreground, the airy, transparent rendering of the foliage and the linear brush treatment and visual highlighting of individual bare branches point to a close observation of nature and a spontaneous execution.

Given the stylistic analogies with a number of studies in the Crocker Art Museum and Groninger Museum, it seems plausible to attribute the work to Jan Worst, who was active from circa 1645 to around 1686 (see exhibition catalogue Tekenen van Warmte, ed. by Peter Schatborn, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam 2001, p. 131, figs. F and G). Few details are known of the life of the artist who, like so many of his fellow Dutch artists, was in Italy for an extended period, staying there from about 1645 to 1655.

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