Provenance: Collection Walther Bernt (1900–1980), Munich, sold on February 22, 1954; Auction, Antiquariat F. Dörling, Hamburg, 3. – 4. December 1987, lot 6201 (as Paul Bril);Sale, Christie's, Amsterdam, December 12, 1990, lot 129 (as Paul Bril); Cesare Lampronti art trade, Rome, 1990; Private collection, Germany, until 2020
We are grateful to Luuk Pijl for confirming the attribution of the present painting to Marten Ryckaert on the basis of a photograph. A photocopy of his report (March 29, 2021) is available.
The present painting is recorded in the RKD archive under no. 279298 as the work of Marten Ryckaert.
This rocky landscape with a waterfall is a excellent example of Rijckaert's work. His works are also an example of the Italianate landscape depictions that were made by Flemish painters active in Rome. This painting bears witness to the taste of Antwerp collectors at the time.
Luuk Pijl pointed to the flute playing shepherd on the left, who 'underlines the peaceful and pastoral mood of the scenery.' Pijl emphasizes the skill with which Rijckaert knows how to create a feeling for proportions in relation to the natural elements of the scene and how he is able to animate the composition with goats and birds through the two figures on the right leaning over the entrance to a cave. Pijl recognized in this artwork a skillful reinterpretation of motifs by earlier masters such as Paul Bril, who worked in Rome in the 1590s at the same time as Rijckaert's teacher Tobias Verhaecht. According to Pijl, the present work was inspired by Brils mountain landscape with Dee and a waterfall from 1619 (auction, Sotheby’s, New York, January 29, 2015, lot 33).He adds that Bril's work is based on the famous picture in the picture gallery of Cornelis van der Geest by Willem van Haecht from 1626, which is now kept in the Rube,shuis in Antwerp. Therefore, "Bril's work must have been accessible to Rijckaert at some point after ist completion in 1619 in ANtwerp, the pronanme time of the present work." which were probably inspired by Brils works, the elaborate excecution with the dotted highlights is quite typical for Rijckaert.