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  • "Bishop"
    Type: inscription
    Location: verso of old mount (lost)
    Materials: pen and ink
  • James Bowdoin III( Collector, Boston) - 1811.
  • Bowdoin College Museum of Art( Museum, Brunswick, Maine) 1811- . Bequest
  • Old Master Drawings at Bowdoin College
    • Bowdoin College Museum of Art. ( 5/17/1985 - 7/7/1985)
    • Clark Art Institute. ( 9/14/1985 - 10/27/1985)
    • University of Kansas. ( 1/19/1986 - 3/2/1986)
    • Art Gallery of Ontario. ( 5/17/1986 - 6/29/1986)
Type: catalogue
Author: Henry Johnson
Document Title: Catalogue of the Bowdoin College Art Collections
Publ. Place: Brunswick, Maine
Reference: nos. 58
Remarks: (as Corneille Bishop [sic])
Section Title: Pt. I, The Bowdoin Drawings
Date: 1885

Type: catalogue
Author: Bowdoin College Museum of Art
Document Title: Bowdoin Museum of Fine Arts, Walker Art Building
Edition: 4th
Publ. Place: Brunswick, Maine
Reference: no. 58
Remarks: (as Corneille Bishop)
Section Title: Descriptive Catalogue of the . . .
Date: 1930

Type: exhibition catalogue
Author: David P. Becker
Document Title: Old Master Drawings at Bowdoin College
Publ. Place: Brunswick, Maine
Location: pp. 64-5
Reference: no. 29 (illus.)
Remarks: (as Jan de Bisschop)
Publisher: Bowdoin College
Date: 1985

Jan de Bisschop was a most accomplished amateur artist and theorist who was a member of the highest intellectual and cultural circles in seventeenth-century Holland. He studied law at the University of Leiden from 1648 to 1652, and as an advocate he practiced primarily in The Hague. Accomplished drawings by him are known from 1648, and Van Gelder has suggested that his drawing teacher could have been Bartholomeus Breenbergh (BCMA 1811.132), based on stylistic resemblance and two etched copies de Bisschop made after the other artist's paintings.1 In 1655 or 1657 he went on a study tour in Italy. In pursuing his professional legal career and his artistic hobby of drawing and etching, de Bisschop was part of a long tradition of dilettanti, as was his lifelong friend Constantin Huygens the Younger, also a talented landscape artist.2 De Bisschop drew throughout his life and published two series of etchings after antique sculpture (Signorum veterum Icones, 1669) and drawings by earlier masters (Paradigmata Graphices, 1671). He is also known for over two hundred sunlit landscape drawings done in Holland and Italy, one of the largest being a view of Rome in the Pierpont Morgan Library.3 His drawings are often characterized by a rusty-brown ink, which was his own recipe and was called "Bisschops inkt."4 With several others he founded a small drawing academy in The Hague which met in the evenings, and he promoted the practice of drawing both from models and from antique sculpture.5 Intending his two publications to serve as model-books for artists and amateurs, de Bisschop wrote in his introduction to the Signorum veterum Icones that he tried to "select the beautiful from the works of the ancients and thereby to enhance life as a whole which otherwise tends to be oppressive and uncertain . . ."6 De Bisschop was often known by the Latin form of his name, Episcopius.

The old inscriptions on the verso of the original mounts for these two small sheets undoubtedly refer to traditional attributions to Jan de Bisschop, but the drawings were first catalogued under Cornelis Bisschop. However, they are clear examples of Jan's copies of compositions by earlier masters, even to the use of his characteristic ink. The attribution is further confirmed by Van Gelder's annotation "Jan" on the photographs of these drawings in the Witt Library (filed under Cornelis). In this case, the two original compositions are probably Italian, but remain so far unidentified. Other, larger examples of de Bisschop's copies after old masters are illustrated in articles by Van Gelder and Golahny.7 Van Gelder dates these late in the artist's career, ca. 1660-1671. The small size of the sketches, however, could indicate their composition as "on the spot" records and so suggest that they were made during his 1655/57 trip to Italy.

1. Van Gelder 1971, pp. 205-6.

2. Ibid., pp. 206-7.

3. New York 1979, cat. no. 118, repr.

4. Van Gelder 1971, p. 217.

5. Ibid., pp. 211, 217.

6. Ibid., p. 219.

7. Ibid., figs. 5, 44-53, 68, 76, and 84; J. G. Van Gelder, "Rubens Marginalia," Burlington Magazine, vol. 120, pp. 455-57, 842-44 (July and December 1978); A. Golahny, "Jan de Bisschop's 'St. Helena' after Veronese," Master Drawings, vol. 19, no. I (Spring 1981), pp. 25-27, pl. 22.

Commentary credited to David P. Becker (or not otherwise captioned) appeared in his catalogue Old Master Drawings at Bowdoin College (Brunswick: Bowdoin College Museum of Art, 1985).