Case Study

"Dutch Orphans Reunited"

Fragment "Christ before the People"
Computer Joined     After Treatment

My Two Cents
As a lawyer I know it wouldn't hold up in a court of law, and I am no art historian, but I can offer my personal feelings on the painting's attribution. At the age of eighteen, Govaert Flinck (1615-1660) began his studies with Rembrandt. (23) He worked in Rembrandt's studio from 1633 to 1636, and eventually became a great master in his own right. He was so well regarded in Amsterdam that in 1659 he was commissioned to create twelve paintings for the city's civic hall.
One of my favorite paintings from his hand is Isaac Blessing Jacob, pictured below. In this scene the blind Isaac is shown wrongfully blessing his second son, Jacob, rather than his rightful heir, Esau. Isaac's wife, Rebecca, who orchestrated the ruse, looks on. The delicate and sensitive handling of a complex spiritual moment and the masterful drawing are characteristic of Flinck's style.

Govaert Flinck "Isaac Blessing Jacob"
1639   Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Gerbrand Van den Eeckhout (1621-1674) studied with Rembrandt from 1635 to 1640 and may have overlapped with Flinck in this regard. (24) Eeckhout's history paintings from the 1640s are clearly influenced by Rembrandt's brushwork and chiaroscuro although he lacked the drawing skills that distinguish the work of his mentor and Flinck. Eeckhout typically used dramatic gestures and enlarged hands with delicate, elongated, fingers to emphasize a critical moment. These characteristics are all referenced in the below images.

Eeckhout "The Infant Samuel"
ca. 1662  The Ashmolean Museum. Oxford

Eeckhout "The Infant Samuel"

Eeckhout "Isaac and Rebecca"
1665  Mauritshuis Gallery, The Hague

Eeckhout "Isaac and Rebecca"

Eeckhout "Hagar Weeping"
1649  J. Paul Getty Museum. Los Angeles

Eeckhout "Hagar Weeping"

Eeckhout "Abraham and the Three Angels"
1656  Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg

Eeckhout "Abraham and the Three Angels"
Eeckhout was a fine painter. Christ being shown to the People has a wonderful painterly, spirited style, but it also has imperfections. Imaged below, the delicate, elongated, fingers of the seated boy and the enlarged hands of a background figure are markers for Eeckhout.

Eeckhout "Christ before the People"

Eeckhout "Christ before the People"
The painting's drawing is competent, but there are areas that do not quite hold up. For example, if we look closely at the arm of Christ, it is clear that the limb and muscles are anatomically incorrect. Also, the hand and fingers follow a similar pattern as described above. It is these characteristics that favor an attribution to Gerbrand Van den Eeckhout over Govaert Flinck.

Eeckhout "Christ before the People"


Gerbrand Van den Eeckhout
Fragment "Christ before the People"
Dutch 17th Century
(23) (accessed October 20, 2010).
(24) (accessed October 20, 2010).


Charles August Ficke
After 102 years of waiting, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to Barry Bauman for his assistance and conservation work on the Dutch orphans. Without his input this Case Study would not have been completed. I also offer undying gratitude to the individuals and institutions listed below.

Barry Bauman
Ms. Jane Connell. director of collections and exhibitions and senior curator. Muskegon Museum of Art, Muskegon, Michigan.
Mr. Peter Sixby. conservator. Iowa State Historical Society, Des Moines, Iowa.
Mr. Evan Towle. librarian for reader services. The Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Mr. James Iska. Department of Photography. The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois.
Ms. Suzanne Folds McCullagh. curator of earlier prints and drawings. The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois.
Ms. Eunice Schlichting. chief curator. Putnam Museum, Davenport, Iowa.
Ms. Mary Bauman. River Forest, Illinois.
Ms. Laura Kearney. Madison, Wisconsin.
Mr. Art Martin. collections manager and assistant curator. The Muskegon Museum of Art, Muskegon, Michigan.
Ms. Ahlam Vieira. Round Lake, Illinois.
Dr. Sean O'Harrow. executive director. Figge Art Museum, Davenport, Iowa.
Dr. Rima Girnius. associate curator. Figge Art Museum, Davenport, Iowa.
Mr. Andrew Wallace. registrar. Figge Art Museum, Davenport, Iowa.
The Art Institute of Chicago Ryerson Library. Chicago, Illinois.

To the Reader
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Table of Contents, Biography, Provenance, Examination, Treatment,
Fortune Shines, Examination, Treatment, Heavenly Thoughts, My Two Cents


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