Hendrik van Steenwijck II (Antwerp c. 1580-1649 Leiden or The Hague). Baal's priests consuming the offerings of the people in a temple

signed and dated 'HENR: VA. STEN·Jonge ·1604· (lower right). oil on panel. 65.4 x 92.3 cm. Estimate €80,000 - €120,000 ($102,484 - $153,725)

Provenance : Graeff van Polsbroek, Amsterdam and by descent to the current owner.

Notes : Hendrik van Steenwijck II painted this picture shortly after the untimely death of his father and teacher in 1603 (see lot 13). Only in these years the son signed his pictures using the suffix 'jong(e)'. The styles of both Steenwijcks are difficult to distinguish and the son often repeated compositions by his father.

The present composition may derive from Steenwijck I. A similar interior by candle light with the same subject is in the Amatt Bentlif Collection, on loan to the Maidstone Museum & Art Gallery (see exh. cat. Dutch Church Painters, Edinburgh, 1984, pp. 14-5). The Bentlif picture is signed and dated 'HENRI VAN STEINWICK INVENTOR 1591 HENRI VAN STEINWICK FECIT 1624, probably implying that the composition ultimately draws on one by the older Steenwijck (ibid., p. 15, no. 5).

The story of the Baal priests and their families consuming the offerings of the people can be found in the book of Daniel (one of the deutero-canonical books of the Bible). It may or may not refer to the contemporary abuses within the Catholic church.

We are grateful to Dr. Jeremy Howarth for his help in cataloguing this lot.

Christie's. Old Master Pictures. 10 November 2008.  Amsterdam. Image Christie's Ltd 2008.