- Museum number
The crossing of the Red Sea; bowmen and pikemen at l, ships in the distance, the sea parting at centre and the Israelites carrying their goods and fleeing to right, rocky landscape with tents in a clearing behind
Pen and brown ink, with watercolour
Verso: Studies for a resurrection of Christ, an Agony in the Garden, a Last Supper (?), and an architectural scene with figures
Pen and brown ink
- Production date
- 1520-1548 (circa)
Height: 234 millimetres
Width: 664 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Rowlands 1993
LITERATURE: E. Schilling, Munich Jahrbuch, v, 1954, pp. 139-40, pls. 6-7; Blankenagel, pp. 207ff.; BM Dürer and Holbein, pp. 155-6, no. 125, repr.
On the recto is an impressive design for a dramatic biblical subject, in which nature and the miraculous deliverance of the Israelites from Pharaoh's host play a dominant rôle. Refinger's use of watercolour here is particularly effective in his rendering of a sense of atmosphere. The drawing is evidently a preparatory study for a fresco of the same subject on the vault in the west arcade of the inner courtyard of the Stadtresidenz at Landshut, where the artist worked from 1542 to 1543. As Schilling has pointed out, the fresco is a reduced version of the composition as it appears in the present drawing. The autograph quality of this sheet, established by comparison with other drawings by Refinger, strongly supports the traditional attribution of the fresco to this artist, although Blankenagel considers the attribution uncertain. It has to be acknowledged that this painting, like the other frescoes in the west arcade, has been damaged and heavily re-painted. Judgement over the question of attribution would be impossible were it not for the existence of the present study, which makes Blankenagel's doubts seem somewhat academic.
Most of Refinger's known drawings possess elaborate architectural components and are usually executed in pen and ink alone. The rapid pen-and-ink sketches on the right-hand side of the verso of SL,5218.205 were made for four subjects unrelated to the recto. Their technique is closely comparable in its execution to a sketch on the verso of Refinger's ‘Scene from classical history: probably the arrest of Helen’, in a private collection (E. Schilling, ‘Munich Jahrbuch’, v, 1954, p. 134, repr.). The annotations on the verso of SL,5218.205 are also typical of Refinger's hand and may be seen on other drawings, such as the ‘Christ and the Woman of Samaria’ in a private collection (Rowlands, ‘Private Collection’, p. 49, repr.).
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1958 Apr, BM, Eight centuries of landscape ... water-colours, case 14
1984, BM, Master Drawings & Watercolours, no. 65
1988, July-Oct, BM, Age of Dürer & Holbein, no. 125
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: C,07.205