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    • 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)
    • Dutch Mannerist Art
      • Vassar College Art Gallery. ( 4/15/1970 - 6/7/1970)
    • Drawing on Basics
      • Bowdoin College Museum of Art. ( 10/14/1993 - 12/19/1993)
    • Old Master Drawings from the Bowdoin College Museum of Art
      • Timken Museum of Art. ( 5/13/2005 - 8/14/2005)
    • Why Draw? 500 Years of Drawings and Watercolors at Bowdoin College
      • Bowdoin College Museum of Art. ( 5/3/2017 - 9/3/2017)
    Type: catalogue
    Author: Henry Johnson
    Document Title: Catalogue of the Bowdoin College Art Collections
    Publ. Place: Brunswick, Maine
    Reference: no. 48
    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. 62
    Publisher: Bowdoin College
    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. 30-31
    Reference: no. 12
    Publisher: Bowdoin College
    Date: 1985
    Type: exhibition catalogue
    Author: W. Stechow
    Document Title: Dutch Mannerism -- Apogee and Epilogue
    Publ. Place: Poughkeepsie, NY
    Reference: no. 22, repr.
    Publisher: Vassar College
    Date: 1970

    One of the most important exponents of the northern mannerist style, Bloemaert worked primarily in Utrecht, where he had first been a pupil of Joos de Beer. Bloemaert was one of the few major painters of his time not to travel to Italy; his sole foreign study was in Paris from 1580 to 1583 . While in Amsterdam for two years after 1591, he was strongly influenced by the nearby Haarlem school of mannerism exemplified by artists such as Hendrik Goltzius, Karel van Mander, and Cornelis Cornelisz. Returning to Utrecht, Bloemaert was a co-founder of the Guild of St. Luke there in 1611 and became its dean in 1618.

    This sheet of sketches entered the collections with a traditional attribution to Bloemaert written on the old mount. It contains three related sketches of running figures (two seem to be the same model viewed from different angles), with two fragments of bent arms in red chalk drawn on a larger scale. The sheet was removed from the old mount in 1981 and revealed no sketches on the verso. The technique of nervous pen work over black chalk is also seen in very comparable sketch sheets in Darmstadt, Munich, and Berlin.1

    The Bowdoin sketches are not related to those figure and gesture sketches which were utilized for the plates of the drawing manual (Tekenboek) engraved by Bloemaert's son Frederick. The authors of the Vassar exhibition catalogue related the running figures to those in the background of the painting The Crowning of Theagenes of 1626 in the Utrecht Museum. However, as first suggested by Ronni Baer in conversation, the male figures in the Bowdoin sheet appear more suitably to be studies for similar figures in compositions of the Annunciation to the Shepherds. Bloemaert treated this subject in several drawn compositions, notably in two sheets in the Albertina, one in the British Museum, and one in a private collection in New York.2 The Darmstadt sheet noted above certainly also relates to this subject, depicting various studies for shepherds "sore afraid," shielding themselves from the angels' brilliance. The story of the angels' appearance to the shepherds announcing Christ's birth is told in Luke 2:8-14.

    The dating of Bloemaert's drawings from his long career is rendered difficult by both the lack of dated drawings and the continuity of style and subjects within his work. The Bowdoin sheet is no exception, and several comparable drawings have been dated from the 1590s to 1650. It clearly does not belong to Bloemaert's earliest and most mannerist style of the 1590s, but a more accurate placement within his mature work is uncertain without a clear framework. No painting definitively related to the Bowdoin studies is known.

    1. Inv. no. AE 626, Gernsheim 24329; Inv. no. 9994, Wegner 1973, no. 243; Inv. no. 279, Gernsheim 47149.

    2. Benesch 1928, nos. 446-47; Popham 1932, p. 91, no. 4, pl. 38; Cornell University, Herbert Johnson Museum, Dutch Drawings of the Seventeenth Century (exh. cat.) (Ithaca, 1979), cat. no. 1, repr.

    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).