HENDRICK TER BRUGGHEN and studio (Deventer 1588 - 1629 Utrecht)

The present work is attributable to the Dutch artist, Hendrick ter Brugghen, student of the mannerist painter Abraham Bloemaert from Utrecht, and present in Rome between 1604 and 1614. During his stay in Italy, ter Brugghen came into contact with Caravaggio, Orazio Gentileschi and Carlo Saraceni, acquiring a profound knowledge of the treatment of light and the arrangement of composition. 

The painting depicting Sleeping Mars in the Utrecht Museum, undoubtedly a work by Hendrick ter Brugghen, served as reference for two workshop versions including the one in the Lampronti collection (W13, W14) and three copies from the same period (R57, R58, R59), all published and analysed in the seminal monograph on the painter (L. J. Slatkes, W. Frenits, 2007).  

The recent revised attribution by Franits – who in this instance carried out a direct observation from the work itself - has restitued the canvas to the artist himself. Indeed, the scholar indicated the extraordinary painterly quality of the protagonist, particularly his face and supporting hand, assigning the armour, breeches and drum to the workshop.

The excellent quality of the example in the Lampronti collection is further emphasised when considered alongside additional evidence taken from a comparison with the second version on canvas, the so-called ‘Speelman version’ (W14), in which both Slatke and Franits point out pictorial weaknesses and various inaccuracies.

Sleeping Mars

Oil on canvas, 116 x 85.5 cm.

Prof. Wayne Franits, March 2014

The Independent Gallery, London;
London, Pall Mall Studios, 1922;
Private English collection;
Sotheby’s, New York, January 1988, lot 213.

The Burlington Magazine 40, April 1922;
B. Nicolson, Hendrick ter Brugghen, London 1985, pp. 75-76, 102, cat. n. A42, tav. 41a;
E. de Jong, De Slapende Mars van Dendrick ter Brugghen, Utrecht 1980, p. 29, nota 16;
L.J. Slatkes, W. Franits, The paintings of Hendrick ter Brugghen 1588 - 129. Catalogue Raisonné, 2007, p. 147, W13, plate 43a.