Flemish School after Albrecht Dürer, 16/17th C., oil on panel: The Vision of Saint Eustace or Saint Hubertus

This lot was sold on 2020-11-01 and is no longer available

Dim.: 47 x 35 cm (the work)
Dim.: 58,5 x 46,5 cm (the frame)

Condition: (UV-checked)
- Generally in good condition with a few superficial touch-ups to very small sections throughout, as to be expected on a work from this period, most notably to the horse.
- A faint superficial ca. 1,8 cm vertical scratch to the loins of the horse.
- On the right handside, it appears that a vertical strip of ca. 1 cm wide was added at a later date.

The source for this work is an engraving by Albrecht Dürer, made in ca. 1501. The subject illustrates the conversion of the pagan Roman commander Placidus while hunting a stag. Here he finds God as the stag suddenly stands still. In a vision he sees a crucifix lodged between its antlers, and the stag speaks to him in Christ’s voice. Placidus converts and changes his name to Eustace. The print bears witness to Dürer's intense interest and skill in the depiction of nature. Dürer counted this print among his best works, and repeatedly gave impressions of it to friends and acquaintances. Giorgio Vasari particularly admired the various dogs in their different poses.

At least two other versions of this painting after the engraving are known. One is in the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City, Missouri. It is dated to ca. 1505-1525. A second was sold at Christie's, London, in 2007. Both paintings show a number of variations with the engraving, the most apparent being the depiction of Eustace, in a red silk attire and with a halo around the head.  Further variations can be found in the selection of the plants in the immediate foreground. The Nelson-Atkins and Christie's paintings also have one of the hunting dogs replaced with a small terrier, possibly the painter's patron’s favourite pet. 

The version offered here is closer to the original, but also counts a number of variations. The vegetation in the upper right corner is somewhat less elaborate. The positioning of the dog in the lower left is also different.

The engraving and subsequent paintings are known under various titles, such as: 'Eustace in a landscape', 'Vision of Saint Eustace', 'Saint Hubertus in a Landscape' or 'The Vision of Saint Hubertus'.

- A Dutch private collection.
- Acquired from Van Aelst, Breda, The Netherlands, a reputable antiques dealer.
- Restored by Henk Olthuysen in the 1960's or 1970's, on behalf of Van Aelst, according to the label on the back and confirmed by the still active restorer.

- Christie's, London, July 5, 2007, lot 75 (sold GBP 445.600) (link)
- The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Object number 31-59. (link) (link to RKD)
- Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, for a copy of the original print. (link)
- The Metropolitan Museum, New York, Accession Number: 80.3.483, for a hand-drawn copy of the original print, a testimonial to the large interest by contemporary artists in Dürer's work. (link)