The National Museum of Western Art

update 14 September 2021

Currently not on display

Jacob Jordaens (attributed to) [Antwerp, 1593 - Antwerp, 1678]

The Flight of Lot and His Family from Sodom (after Rubens)

Datec. 1618-20
Materials/Techniquesoil on canvas
Size (cm)169.5 x 198.5
Credit LinePurchased
CategoryPaintings
Collection NumberP.1978-0006
The Flight of Lot and His Family from Sodom (after Rubens)

The scene of Lot and his family fleeing the sinful city of Sodom at the behest of two angels is based on the Old Testament Book of Genesis:19. The hesitating figure of Lot is shown in the center with his wife seen in profile to his left and his two daughters, trying to carry their riches with them, behind him to the right. They are shown in a gloomy unsettled scene as Lot abandons his position in the town in accordance with an order from God. The pillar seen in the central back section of the composition prefigures the fate of Lot's wife, who is turned into a pillar of salt when she looks back at the city. There are three other known works that have essentially the same dimensions and composition as this work (Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, Florida; Bass Museum of Art, Miami Beach, Florida; Private collection). A comparison of the details of these works was thought to be a good method of clarifying Rubens's studio methods, and thus in the summer of 1993 a study exhibition entitled The Flight of Lot and his Family from Sodom: Rubens and his Workshop was held at the NMWA. The exhibition brought together the NMWA work alongside the two oil paintings from the Bass and Ringling museums, a reproduction engraving of the composition by Lucas Vorsterman, and preparatory sketches for the engraving. The details of the works were surveyed during the exhibition, opinions were exchanged by specialists from the NMWA and other institutions, and the following was clarified. In spite of the fact that the Ringling work includes some student work in its secondary elements, it is overwhelmingly superior in quality and can be considered an original work by Rubens. The Bass work is probably a studio work based on the Ringling work. The NMWA painting has more stereotyped expression in such areas as the beards and angel wings, sections that would have allowed a master's talents to shine, and thus it is thought that the NMWA work is a studio work created under the direction of Rubens. However, in many areas the NMWA work differs from the Ringling painting. Thus, while not yet confirmed, the theory regarding the NMWA work that has the greatest support today is R-A. d'Hulst's view that this painting was from the earliest period of Jacob Jordaens, a young collaborator of Rubens, particularly based on the vigorous depiction of the bodies and the cool, pale lavender tones used in the work. (Source: Masterpieces of the National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, 2009, cat. no. 28)

Provenance

Lewis & Son, London; Auc. Christie's, London, 29. 7. 1937, lot no. 80; E. Lübbert, München (long-term loan to the Martin-von-Wagner-Museum der Universität Würzburg); Purchased by the NMWA, 1978.

Exhibition History

1933
Rubens-tentoonstelling, Kunsthandel J. Goudstikker, Amsterdam, 1933 - 1933, cat. no. 1
1965
Le siècle de Rubens, Musée Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Brussel, 15 October 1965 - 12 December 1965, cat. no. 181, repr.
1968
Weltkunst aus Privatbesitz (Ausstellung der Kölner Museen), Kunsthalle, Köln, 18 May 1968 - 4 August 1968, cat. no. F29. fig. 16
1993
The Flight of Lot and his Family from Sodom: Rubens and his Workshop, National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, 13 July 1993 - 29 August 1993, cat. no. 3
2018
Rubens and the Birth of the Baroque, The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, 16 October 2018 - 20 January 2019, cat. no. 69

Bibliography

1830
Smith, John. A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch, Flemish and French Painters. part 2, London, 1830, no. 826.
1928
Glück, G. Sammlung S. del Monte. Wien, 1928, no. 6.
1935
Glück, G. in Thieme-Becker-Künstlerlexikon. Bd. 29. 1935, p. 142.
1940
Van den Wijngaert, Frank. Inventaris der Rubeniaansche prentkunst. Antwerpen, de Sikkel, 1940, no. 708.
1947
Goris, Jan-Albert; Held, Julius S. Rubens in America. Antwerpen, Standaard Boekhandel, 1947, no. 36.
1966
Gerson, Horst. Das Jahrhundert von Rubens. Kunstchronik, 19. Jg. Heft 3, März 1966, pp. 58, 61.
1967
Cabanne, Pierre. Rubens. Bernard, Oliver, trans. London, Thames and Hudson, 1967, p. 186.
1968
Evers, H. G. in Kindlers Malerei-Lexikon. Bd. 5, 1968, p. 163, col. repr., p. 161.
1969
Ragaller, H. Martin-von-Wagner-Museum der Universität Würzburg, Neuere Abteilung: Verzeichnis der Gemälde und Skulpturen. Würzburg, 1969, p. 45.
1977
Liess, Reinhard. Die Kunst des Rubens. Braunschweig, Waisenhaus-Buchdruckerei und Verl., 1977, p. 355.
1979
The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo: Catalogue of paintings. Tokyo, The National Museum of Western Art, 1979, no. 252 (as the work by Rubens).
1979
Hubala, Erich. "Figurenerfindung und Bildform bei Rubens, Beiträge zum Thema: Rubens als Erzähler". Rubens: Kunstgeschichtliche Beiträge. Hubala, E.rich, ed. Konstanz, L. Leonhardt, 1979, pp. 176-178, 274, Abb. 69.
1980
Annual Bulletin of the National Museum of Western Art. No. 13 (1978), 1980, Koshi, Koichi. New Acquisitions (Painting). pp. 8-13, New Acquisitions (Catalogue). pp. 26-28, repr.
1989
Kobayashi-Sato, Yoriko. Catalogue of Dutch and Flemish Paintings in Japan I. Annual Report Bridgestone Museum of Art & Ishibashi Museum of Art. no. 37 (1988), 1989, p. 54, no. 34, repr.
1994
Nakamura, Toshiharu, ed. Rubens and His Workshop: The Flight of Lot and His Family from Sodom. Tokyo, the National Museum of Western Art, 1994
1996
Yukiyama, Koji. Regarding the Reattribution of the Museum's the Flight of Lot and his Family from Sodom. Annual bulletin of the National Museum of Western Art. Nos. 27-28 (April 1992-March 1994), 1996, p. 65.
2006
Masterpieces of The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo. Tokyo, The National Museum of Western Art; Tokyo, The Western Art Foundation, 2006 (Japanese, preface in Japanese and English), no. 28, col. repr.
2009
Masterpieces of The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo. Tokyo, The National Museum of Western Art; Tokyo, The Western Art Foundation, 2009, no. 28, col. repr.
2013
Masterpieces: The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo. Tokyo, The Western Art Foundation, 2013 (Japanese, preface in Japanese and English), no. 42, col. repr.
2013
Rubens: Inspired by Italy and Established in Antwerp (exh. cat). The Bunkamura Museum of Art, 9 March-21 April 2013. Kitakyushu Municipal Museum of Art, 28 April-16 June 2013. The Niigata Prefectural Museum Of Modern Art, Nagaoka, 29 June-11 August 2013. [Tokyo], The Mainichi Newspapers, 2013, pp. 166-167.
2018
Kofuku, Akira. Catalogue of Dutch and Flemish Paintings, The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo. [Tokyo], The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo; The Western Art Foundation, 2018, pp. 82-85, no. 21, col. repr.

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