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Lente, Zomer, Winter, drie triomfen van jaargetijden toegeschreven aan Louis de Caullery

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image of Oud Holland - Quarterly for Dutch Art History

A series of three seasons in the form of the triumphs of Spring, Summer and Winter (the Triumph of Autumn is missing), attributed to Louis de Caullery (Cambrai c. 1580- Antwerp 1621/1622), is in a Dutch private collection. Dendrochronology and the costumes indicate that it was painted around 1615-1620.All three paintings have the same structure. A triumphal procession is wending its way across an elevation in the foreground. On the carriage, which is drawn by animals, is the personification of the relevant season. Beyond it is a broad landscape with people engaged in the activities associated with that season. Although the scenes fit within the visual tradition of the Four Seasons, the triumphal type is rather quite rare in Dutch painting. They are not, however, entirely the artist's invention, for he combined different existing elements to form a new whole. For example, the triumphal processions in the foreground are derived from prints by Antonio Tempesta. while the background landscapes are based on compositions known from drawings by Lodewijk Toeput.Examination with infrared reflectography provided an insight into the way in which those models were forged into the ultimate compositions. Motifs borrowed directly from the models in the underdrawing were modified in the paint layer to such an extent that the borrowings were no longer recognisable as such in the finished picture. In addition, the triumphal processions in the foreground were not laid down in the underdrawing but were only added later on top of the partly finished paint layers of the landscape. On the evidence of several discrepancies in both the working method and the manner of depiction it seems likely that Winter was not originally part of the series but belonged to another very similar one. Analysis of the scenes and the visual sources also made it possible to form an idea of the missing Autumn.


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