JAN SIMONYSZ. PYNAS

1583 Dutch 1631

Religious Offering of Cattle before a Sculpted God by a Town

71/4 x 8" (185 x 205mm). inscribed on the verso in an old hand in brown ink: JanPynas .........

literature:
Annemarie Stefes, Niederlandische Zeichnungen, 1450-1850, Koln/Weimar,Vienna, 2013, Vol II, pp. 450-451, no. 837, in Annotation 1. illus. p.838.

Of the Pre-Rembrandists, the brothers Pynas left the least surviving work for posterity. Jan was known to have gone to Italy and that influence was not lost on Jacob. At one time, Adam Elsheimer's work was confused with that of the Pynas's. Now we have a greater understanding of what delineates them. But in this particular case, it is a drawing by Elsheimer1 for Il Contento that is the inspiration for the present drawing by Jacob. Adam Elsheimer (Frankfurt, 1578-Rome, 1610) executed that drawing which concerns Jupiter Ordering Mercury to Carry off Fortune, around 1607. So we may assume that is the terminus post quem. Most likely the present drawing was made quite a bit later. There are a number of drawings by Pynas with a comparable composition...subject figures, often gravitating before a main figure, in the first plane, receding landscape or cityscape, more people in the background. One in red chalk is at the Courtauld and can be viewed there.
A drawing formerly thought to be by Elsheimer but now believed to have been by Pynas, was engraved by Wenslaus Hollar and later published.2
It was Peter Schatborn who thought of the attribution for the present drawing. Schatborn related the present work to a completely stylistically comparable drawing attributed to Jacob Symonsz. Pynas in the Kupferstichkabinett in the Hamburg Kunsthalle.3 The Hamburg drawing entitled, Landscape with Elisa and the Widow, bears the identical signature by the same hand as the present sheet, on the verso.4 I do not understand why it is then given to Jacob.
1

See Louvre web-site .

2

Two versions of this print can be seen on the web-site of the British Museum.

3

See Litt, Stefes, 2013.

4

in an e-mail from August 2nd, 2009 to the previous owner.