Jan van Eyck, workshop or follower, Crucifixion , c. 1440-80. Goldpoint, silverpoint, pen and black ink, indented for transfer, on grey prepared paper, 254 x 187 mm. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen Collection.
ROTTERDAM.- The Crucifixion , a drawing that was made by Jan van Eyck – a spectacular discovery by Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen during its Van Eyck exhibition – is travelling to a museum outside the Netherlands for the first time. From 25 January this masterpiece in the museum’s collection will be exhibited alongside Jan van Eyck’s painting of the Crucifixion in A New Look at a Van Eyck Masterpiece in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The Dutch public were introduced to this discovery in the TV programme De Wereld Draait Door in 2012.
The museum discovered this rare fifteenth-century drawing, since attributed to Jan van Eyck or his workshop, in 2012. In 2014 the museum acquired the mysterious work. The Eyckian drawing will be exhibited in New York alongside Jan van Eyck’s painted Cr ucifixion , to which, according to international experts, the drawing is closely related. The two works will be seen side by side for the first time in centuries.
Expert Opinions Divided
During the exhibition entitled The Road to Van Eyck, the museum staged a symposium where experts gave their views about numerous aspects of this fascinating drawing, including the attribution and the dating.
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen collected the views of twelve leading international experts about the Eyckian drawing in An Eyckian Crucifixion Explor ed – Ten Essays on a Drawing , a special publication in the Boijmans Studies series. The Boijmans Study contains scholarly contributions on various aspects of the drawing by Maryan Ainsworth, Till-Holger Borchert, Stephanie Buck, An Van Camp, Albert Elen, Stephan Kemperdick, Fritz Koreny, Friso Lammertse, Guido Messling, and Arie Wallert.
From a ten-guilder ‘plate’ to a work of art worth 420,000 euros
In 1971 the psychiatrist Wim Hofman bought the drawing as a framed ‘plate’ for ten guilders at the estate sale of Fraeylemaborg in Slochteren (Groningen). He recognized it as a drawing and was reminded of Jan van Eyck’s painting in New York. The drawing remained unknown until 2012, when it appeared in The Road to Van Eyck at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. After extensive research, Hofman’s belief was confirmed: it was indeed an exceptional fifteenthcentury work of art from Jan van Eyck’s immediate circle. The museum bought the work with the support of various charitable trusts.
The purchase of the Eyckian drawing is an important storyline in Conducting Boijmans, a documentary by film-maker Sonia Herman Dolz. It is a compelling film highlighting unique moments in the working life of museum director Sjarel Ex. The documentary premiered at the IFFR in 2015. It will be broadcast in Het Uur van de Wolf ’ on Dutch television on 21 January.
World-Class Drawing Collection in Rotterdam
There are only seven hundred surviving drawings in Western art history that date from before 1500. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen holds some 17,000 drawings and 65,000 prints, a world-class collection. They include celebrated drawings by German, Dutch, Flemish, French and Italian artists from the Middle Ages to the present day. Among the highlights are the early Netherlandish drawings, to which the Eyckian sheet now belongs, and drawings by great Italian artists. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen owns the only drawing by Leonardo da Vinci in the Netherlands and the world’s largest collection of drawings by Fra Bartolommeo (1473-1517), the master draughtsman of the High Renaissance. Next autumn there will be a major exhibition of these drawings in Rotterdam with the associated paintings, the largest of which have never been seen before outside Tuscany. The museum’s drawing collection is on permanent display in the museum’s department of prints and drawings,