Although Philips Koninck is best known for his panoramic landscape paintings, drawings such as The Raising of Tabitha are clear reminders of his close relationship to Rembrandt. Both the Old Testament subject matter and the bold draftsmanship are indebted to the master's work, yet distinctively Koninck's own.
Horst Gerson was the first to identify the subject of the Oberlin drawing as the Raising of Tabitha.1 Distraught over the death of Tabitha (also called Dorcas), a Christian woman praised for her good works, the disciples of Joppa summoned Saint Peter to her deathbed. After hearing of her charitable deeds, Peter dismissed the mourners and knelt by the body to pray. He commanded Tabitha to rise, and accordingly she opened her eyes, sat up, and returned to the living (Acts 9:36-41). Sumowski has suggested that Koninck's sketch represents a slightly earlier moment in the narrative, specifically Saint Peter and the Christians of Joppa at Tabitha's Deathbed (Acts 9:39).2 The presence of a crowd of figures around the bearded Saint Peter (and the additional figures in the distance) supports this idea, but the minimal detail in the sketch precludes certain confirmation. The subject of Tabitha at her Deathbed, or the Raising of Tabitha, is rare in Netherlandish art, although it was treated twice by Rembrandt. His drawing of about 1654-55, representing the Raising of Tabitha, shows the saint kneeling alone at the deathbed;3 the other drawing, datable to 1662-65, depicts Peter sending the mourners from the room before beginning his prayers.4
Koninck's drawing contrasts spare, angular pen lines and delicate layers of ink wash. The summary, economical treatment of form is found in several related drawings, which have been dated by Sumowski to the late 1650s. Within this group, the Oberlin drawing is closest to two versions of Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery (both in Dresden),5 Haman Before Ahasuerus (Boston),6 and The Good Samaritan and the Wounded Man on a Mule en route to the Inn(Paris).7 The signed version of Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery(Dresden, inv. C1379) is slightly more worked up than the Oberlin drawing, but shares the distinctive simple, sloping pillar-like delineation of figures. Stechow proposed a date for the Oberlin drawing of the early 1660s,8 but documented drawings by Koninck from this later period are more detailed, less rigidly angular than works of the late 1650s.As intimated by earlier attributions of this characteristic work by Koninck to Rembrandt (see Provenance), the style of The Raising of Tabitha is loosely related to Rembrandt's drawing style of the mid-1650s, although the sharply attenuated figures and their rather blocky hands are uniquely Koninck's.
M. E. Wieseman
One of six sons of the Rotterdam goldsmith Aert de Koninck, Philips studied with his elder brother Jacob (1614/15-after 1690) in Rotterdam from about 1637 to 1640. In 1640 he married Cornelia Furnerius, sister of the Rembrandt pupil Abraham Furnerius (ca. 1628-1654). Following his move to Amsterdam in 1641, Philips Koninck also joined the circle of artists closely associated with Rembrandt's atelier, although he was more of a friend than a pupil of the master. In addition to his artistic activities, Koninck operated a successful shipping line between Amsterdam and Rotterdam. He died in Amsterdam and was buried there on 6 October 1688. Philips and Jacob Koninck were also related (cousins?) to the Rembrandt follower Salomon Koninck (1609-1656).
Philips Koninck painted portraits, biblical and mythological scenes, and several genre scenes in tavern settings, but is best known for his daring and innovative panoramic landscape views. His drawings encompass the same range of subject matter, but more clearly show Rembrandt's influence in their style and technique.
Gerson, Horst. Philips Koninck. Berlin, 1936.
Sumowski, Werner. Drawings of the Rembrandt School. Vol. 6. New York, 1982, pp. 2945-3404.
Sumowski, Werner. Gemälde der Rembrandt-Schüler. Vol. 3. Landau/Pfalz, 1983, pp. 1530-1626.
Collection Jonathan Richardson, Sr. (1665-1745), London (Lugt 2184)
Collection Thomas Hudson (1701-1779), London (Lugt 2432)
Collection Earl Spencer (Honorable John Spencer [1708-1746]; first Earl John Spencer [1734-1783]; second Earl George John [1758-1834]), Althorp (Lugt 1530)
Sale second Earl Spencer, London (Philips), 10-17 June 1811, lot 666 ("Rembrandt. A death-bed, with sympathising figures, fine pen, Indian ink, and bister--producing a piquant effect"; Frick Art Reference Library, ex. ms. note: Koninck 7-6)
Collection Robert Lehman, New York (1933), by whom given in 1943
Ann Arbor, The University of Michigan Museum of Art, 1956. Drawings and Watercolors from the Oberlin Collection. 11 March - 1 April. No cat.
Gerson, Horst. Philips Koninck. Berlin, 1936, pp. 70, 157 no. Z 198 (with erroneous reference to this drawing having been in the Houlditch and Roupell collections), pl. 47.
Stechow, Wolfgang. "Dutch Drawings of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries in the Allen Art Museum." Allen Memorial Art Museum Bulletin 26, no. 1 (Fall 1968), p. 20.
Stechow, Wolfgang. Catalogue of Drawings and Watercolors in the Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College. Oberlin, 1976, p. 45, fig. 160.
Broos, Ben. Oude tekeningen in het bezit van de gemeentemusea van Amsterdam, waaronder de collectie Fodor, vol. 3: Rembrandt en tekenaars uit zijn omgeving. Amsterdam, 1981, p. 155, n. 6.
Sumowski, Werner. Drawings of the Rembrandt School. Vol. 6. New York, 1982, pp. 2956, 3156-3157, no. 1418x ("St. Peter and the Christians of Joppa at Tabitha's Deathbed [Acts 9:39]").
The drawing is executed on antique laid paper; no watermark is visible. The reddish-brown ink used for both wash and line is probably iron-gall ink. Marks of the collectors Jonathan Richards, Sr. and Thomas Hudson (see Provenance) are stamped in black on the recto, lower right and lower left, respectively. The sheet is mounted on heavyweight laid paper with framing lines applied in brown and gold; inscribed on the mount in brown ink (center bottom, recto): Rembrandt; (verso): EE 15./R.6./X.4./0.
1. Horst Gerson, Philips Koninck(Berlin, 1936), p. 157.
2. Werner Sumowski, Drawings of the Rembrandt School, vol. 6 (New York, 1982), p. 3156.
3. Pen and wash with white body color, 19 x 20 cm, Bayonne, Musée Bonnat, inv. L1714; Otto Benesch, The Drawings of Rembrandt, vol. 5 (London, 1954), no. 949.
4. Pen and bister, 19 x 27.3 cm, Dresden, Kupferstichkabinett, inv. L1647; Otto Benesch, The Drawings of Rembrandt, vol. 5 (London, 1954), no. 1068.
5. Pen and brown ink with brown wash, 18.2 x 32.4 cm, Dresden, Kupferstichkabinett, inv. C 1378; pen and brown ink with brown wash, 18.8 x 29.2 cm, Dresden, Kupferstich Kabinett, inv. C 1379; Werner Sumowski, Drawings of the Rembrandt School, vol. 6 (New York, 1982), nos. 1419x and 1322, respectively.
6. Pen and brown ink with brown wash, 17.6 x 20.8 cm, Boston, collection George S. and Maida Abrams; Werner Sumowski, Drawings of the Rembrandt School, vol. 6 (New York, 1982), no. 1416x.
7. Pen and brown ink with brown wash, 14.1 x 17.5 cm, Paris, Musée du Louvre, Cabinet des Dessins, inv. 22957; Werner Sumowski, Drawings of the Rembrandt School, vol. 6 (New York, 1982), no. 1417x.
8. Wolfgang Stechow, Catalogue of Drawings and Watercolors in the Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College(Oberlin, 1976), p. 45.