A Man with a Wine Flask
possibly Dirck van Baburen (Wijk-bij-Duurstede 1592/3 - Utrecht 1624)
Oil painting on canvas (circular), A Man with a Wine Flask, by a Northern follower of Caravaggio, possibly Dirck van Baburen (Wijk-bij-Duurstede 1592/3 - Utrecht 1624),circa 1620. A circular painting in a square frame. Head and shoulders of a man, facing forwards, holding up an Italian straw-covered flask in his right hand and pointing to it with his left. He wears a brown shirt with a white collar and black cap with a large light brown feather poking out from behind to the right with a flourish.
Representations of tavern scenes, or of individuals eating and drinking, originate with Caravaggio’s close follower Bartolomeo Manfredi and his non-Italian counterparts, such as Valentin de Boulogne and Hendrick ter Brugghen. As the popularity of these paintings grew among collectors, so too did the genre develop, with figures often taking on allegorical meanings. The young man pictured here, grinning and gesticulating towards the wine-flask he holds, may allude to the sense of Taste. He looks out and ‘converses’ with the viewer, a motif ultimately derived from Caravaggio’s early picture of youths, which continued to have a profound effect on genre paintings in Rome well into the second decade of the seventeenth century. The Caravaggio scholar Benedict Nicolson (1914-1978) assigned this work to an unidentified north Netherlandish artist (possibly from Utrecht) working in Rome about 1620, whom he associated with Theodoor Rombouts and Jean Ducamps, and nicknamed Caravaggesque Master ‘G’. Both Dirck van Baburen and David le Haen, Baburen’s collaborator in Rome, have been suggested as possible authors of ‘A Man with a Wine Flask’ and, though not accepted as autograph in Franits’s recent monograph, the painting certainly does seem close to Baburen. The early history of ‘A Man with a Wine Flask’ is unknown. The fact that it isn’t listed in the Stourhead inventories or mentioned by Horace Walpole after his visit in 1762, would suggest that this picture, along with ‘Woman with a Pestle and Mortar’ (NT 732309) also by a follower of Caravaggio, was unlikely to have been acquired by Henry Hoare II (1705-1785). These two pictures may have been purchased to fill some of the gaps left by the 1883 Heirloom sales, a series of painting, furniture and book auctions forced upon the estate by the flamboyant lifestyle of Sir Henry Ainslie Hoare (1824-1894). Following his departure from Stourhead in 1885, he was succeeded by his cousin Sir Henry Hoare, who moved there with his wife Alda from Wavendon in Buckinghamshire. They may well have brought the paintings with them, or purchased them slightly later, as the frames would also suggest. Although framed identically and hung together as pendants, ‘A Man with a Wine Flask’ is almost certainly not the pair of ‘A Woman with a Pestle and Mortar’. They are clearly by different artists; one of them most likely Dutch, the other Italian. The paintings do not relate compositionally to each other, with their figures facing the same way, and the two protagonists also differ in scale: the young man in this painting, portrayed in bust-length, is proportionally larger than his old female counterpart, who is shown to the waist. The paintings’ matching gilt plaster frames are from the early nineteenth century, thereby implying this as the most likely dates for the works to have been acquired and ‘made up’ as a false pair. Text adapted from Letizia Treves, Beyond Caravaggio, exh. cat. 2016
Possibly in the collection of Giovan Battista Mellini (1591-1627) in Rome in 1627 and by descent to Urbano Mellini III (died 1660); not mentioned in Stourhead inventories, nor by Horace Walpole after his visit in 1762, suggesting unlikely to have acquired by Henry Hoare II (1705-1785); introduced (possibly from Wavendon in Buckinghamshire with Sir Henry Hoare and his wife Alda) between 1913-25; given to the National Trust along with the house, its grounds, and the rest of contents by Sir Henry Hugh Arthur Hoare, 6th Bt (1865-1947) in 1946.
Stourhead, The Hoare Collection (National Trust)
Makers and roles
possibly Dirck van Baburen (Wijk-bij-Duurstede 1592/3 - Utrecht 1624), photographer Italian School, artist Caravaggesque (Italian) School , artist
Nicolson 1975 Benedict Nicolson, 'Caravaggesque Pictures in National Trust Houses', National Trust Year Book, 1975-76, pp.4-6, repd. plates 6, 7 Nicolson 1979 Benedict Nicolson,The International Caravaggesque Movement: List of Pictures by Caravaggio and his Followers throughout Europe from 1590 to 1650, 1979, p.36 Nicolson 1989 & 1990 Benedict Nicolson, Caravaggism in Europe (2nd ed. rev. and enlarged by L. Vertova), 3 vols, Milan 1989, Turin 1990, vol. I, p. 86, vol. III, figs 991 and 992 Pulini 2005 M. Pulini, 'Il Fossombrone ritrattista degli oratoriani. La raccolta Mattei e Antiveduto Gramatica', Paragone, LVI, 60, 2005, pp. 301-24 Franits 2013 Wayne E. Franits, The Paintings of Dirck van Baburen, ca. 1592/3 - 1624: Catalogue Raisonné, Amsterdam and Philadelphia, 2013, no. R108, p. 221 Beyond Caravaggio (by Letizia Treves), The National Gallery, London: 12 October 2016- 15 January 2017; National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, 11 February - 14 May 2017; Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh, 17 June - 24 September 2017, Cat.39, pp.148-149