Death of Adonis; Venus bending over the body of Adonis, her chariot drawn by swans behind Pen and brown ink, with brown and grey wash


© The Trustees of the British Museum

Department: Prints & Drawings

Registration number: 1946,0713.168

Bibliographic reference
Sumowski 1979 continuing 276x (Bol)
Hind 1915-31 Add.150b (as School of Rembrandt)
Royalton-Kisch 2010 Bol.5

Dutch Roy XVIIc

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Object types
drawing (scope note | all objects)

paper (all objects)
drawn (scope note | all objects)
Production person
Drawn by Ferdinand Bol (biographical details | all objects)
Formerly attributed to Rembrandt (School of) (biographical details | all objects)
1650-1655 (circa)
Schools /Styles
Dutch (scope note | all objects)

The death of Adonis; Venus bending over the body of Adonis, behind on left is her chariot drawn by swans. c.1650-55
Pen and brown ink with brown and greyish-brown wash, heightened with white.
Verso: laid down on old mat.
Watermark: Basel staff.

Height: 155 millimetres
Width: 252 millimetres (chain lines horizontal, 26mm apart)

In good condition, though somewhat foxed.

Curator's comments
Entry from Martin Royalton-Kisch, 'Catalogue of drawings by Rembrandt and his school', 2010, Ferdinand Bol, cat. no.5:

The subject is from Ovid ('Metamorphoses', X, 708-728): Venus mourns Adonis, killed when hunting.
The style is characteristic of Bol, and the drawing resembles his sketch of 'Thisbe mourning Pyramus' in the Rijksmuseum.[1] These works still reveal Bol's dependence on Rembrandt and may date from around 1650-1655, although his chronological development as a draughtsman is difficult to plot, for lack of securely datable material. The subject is treated unconventionally, there being no clear precedents for the design, as is so often the case with works from the Rembrandt school.

[1] F. Lugt, in his notes in the Rijksbureau voor Kunsthistorische Documentatie, The Hague, considered the work similar to Bol's (according to Sumowski, loc. cit.). The Rijksmuseum's drawing was given to Bol by Schatborn, 1985, pp.95-6, repr. fig.3 (captioned as fig.2).

Popham, 1935, p.193, repr. pl.LXXXII (by Rembrandt); Sumowski, 1979, etc., I, no.276x (by Bol, late work).

classical mythology (scope note | all objects)
classical deity (scope note | all objects)

Associated names
Representation of Aphrodite/Venus (biographical details | all objects)
Representation of Adonis (biographical details | all objects)

Acquisition date

Acquisition name
Donated by Count Antoine Seilern ((presented anonymously with the Phillipps-Fewick collection)) (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection Samuel Woodburn (Christie's, 13.vi.1860/1419 as 'Rembrandt, Van Rhyn - The Death of Adonis' bt 'Boone' £2-6-0) (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection Sir Thomas Phillipps (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection Thomas Fitzroy Fenwick (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection Henry George Bohn (?) (biographical details | all objects)

Acquisition notes
Jan Pietersz. Zomer? (L.1511 - the mark, lower right, has printed so poorly that the identification is uncertain); Samuel Woodburn; his sale, Christie's, 9th day, 13 June, 1860, lot 1419, bt Boone, £2-6-0; Sir Thomas Phillipps; T. Fitzroy Fenwick; presented anonymously with the Phillipps-Fenwick collection, 1946. Inscribed on verso of old mat in lower left, in red chalk: '1094' [Phillipps Fenwick cat.no.]; in graphite in lower right: '2' [in a circle].

Exhibition History
No recorded exhibitions.

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