Paper, Canvas, Silver, Wood, and Glass: St. Cecilia Trombone Image in Many Forms

Last week I posted Evolution of a Trombone Painting, which traced a painting through several sketches to fruition in a church fresco. This new post similarly shows several permutations of an image, though in this case, the images span a longer period of time, as they are copied by various artists. They also encompass an impressive range of artistic media, including paper, canvas, silver, wood, and glass. The artist who painted the original image, Pieter de Witte (1548-1628; also known as Pietro Candido), is a Flemish-born artist who was trained in Italy and divided his career between Italy and Germany. For additional examples of trombone images that were copied by multiple artists, see Young Trombonists in Four Montserrat Paintings.


c. 1585—Munich, Germany (?): A drawing that is probably a preparatory sketch for Pieter de Witte’s David Singing God’s Praise (2nd image below) includes an angel-trombonist that is difficult to see (see below detail; public domain) (Volk-Knüttel 31-33, pl. 101; Vignau-Wilberg 424). Candido-sketch

c. 1585—A pen and ink drawing attributed to Italian artist Giovanni Battista Paggi (1554-1627) appears to be some sort of preparatory drawing and shows remarkable similarity to the Pieter de Witte image. Because Pieter de Witte was trained in Italy and divided his career between Italy and Germany, an exchange of ideas with the Italian artist seems plausible (see below image; public domain).paggi

c. 1585—Munich, Germany: Pieter de Witte, court painter in Munich, paints David Singing God’s Praise, which features a trombone among a mixed consort of angel-musicians. The upper half of the painting, shown below, is meant to depict Saint Cecilia and angels. The lower half, not shown, depicts angels performing with David (Haarlem, Frans Hals Museum; Pieter Fischer 22; Bergquist xvii) (public domain image). Click on image to expand.pieter de witte better

c. 1590—Munich, Germany (?): A sketch that has the same dimensions as Sadeler’s engraving (2nd image below) is probably a preparatory drawing for that engraving (see detail below; public domain) (Volk-Knüttel 31-33, pl. 101).Sadeler-sketch

c. 1590—Munich, Germany: Johann Sadeler (Jan Sadeleer), court engraver in Munich, makes an engraving after Pieter de Witte’s painting that accompanies a setting of Psalm 150, Laudent Deum Cithara, by Orlando Lassus. Again, the upper half of the image is shown below (see below image; public domain) (Mirimonde 67; Bergquist xvii).sadeler largest

c. 1590—The top half of a painting by Otto Venius, the portion depicting St. Cecilia and angels, appears to either be a copy of or inspiration for the upper half of the painting by Peter de Witte (or one of the other versions). One link between Otto Venius (also known as Otto van Veen and Octavius Vaenius) and Peter de Witte is the time they both spent in Munich in the employ of Willam V of Bavaria (see below image, click to expand; public domain) (French National Library).venius top

c. 1600—A painting attributed to Hans Rottenhammer’s “circle” follows that of Pieter de Witte in close detail. Rottenhammer (1564-1625) himself was born and trained in Munich until 1588 and would have overlapped Pieter de Witte there by a few years (de Witte was employment there by 1586). Rottenhammer also returned to Germany later in his career and would have had more of a “circle” of influence by that time. The upper half of the image is shown below (see below detail; public domain) (wikimedia commons).rottenhammer circle cropped

c. 1600—Augsburg, Germany (?): A silver relief by Christoph Lencker (c. 1556-1613) is also modeled after the original Pieter de Witte painting. Again, the upper half of the image is shown below (see below detail; public domain) (Pieter Fischer 23).

c. 1667—York, England (?): Grinling Gibbons (1648-1721) follows the painting closely in his boxwood carving. For the first time, however, the trombone is absent. Although this could have been a deliberate change, it may have been the result of damage to the carving, since the angel’s right hand still appears to be in a slide-grip position. The full image is shown below (see below image; public domain).pieter de witte wood

1700—Denton, England: A painted glass window in St. Helen’s church follows the same image. It is dated 1700 and signed by Giles of York (see below detail; public domain) (photo by Gordon Plumb):


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