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Aanvullingen op: Maerten van Heemskercks Familiegroep te Kassel

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image of Oud Holland - Quarterly for Dutch Art History

Further to an earlier article on Maerten van Heemskerck's Portrait of Pieter Jan Foppesz. and his family (PP. 13-22), two points require additioytal comment. From information kindly supplied by Mr Gerhard Fries it appears that, before being purchased under Holbein's name by Wilhelm VIII of Hesse-Kassel, the picture was in the collection of Charles Cressent, the well-known Paris cabinetmaker and sculptor. It was included in the sale announced for January 15th (but postponed to 23rd ) 1749. The author overlooked an article by Hans Ost (note 3), who challenged the current interpretation of the picture as representing a couple with three children and advanced the idea that what was thought to be the youngest child should be seen as the Christ Child. This view, hazardous though it may seem, is plausible and fits in well with an interpretation of the whole scene as even more pervaded by religious symbolism than was hitherto thought. The wine in the man's glass would seem to refer to the blood of Christ, and the idea of Passion and Redemption, already recognized in the symbolic fruits on the table, is manifest in the presence of the Christ Child holding a crucifix. What is known about the birth-dates of the two children (Jan and Cornelia; the latter stated her age to be about 50 in 1578) does not lead to any change in the date of c. 1530 already proposed for the picture.

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