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Lievens, Jan
A Man Singing
around 1624

The son of Calvinist émigrés to Leiden, Jan Lievens was a precocious student of art, beginning his training at the age of eight, and completing it in Amsterdam under the prominent history painter Pieter Lastman. He returned to his hometown in 1621 to establish his independent practice at the age of 14. He served as a mentor to the young Rembrandt, and worked in association with him until 1631. Lievens left for England in 1632, and then worked in Antwerp from 1635-1644, before returning to the Northern Netherlands. His image of a Singing Man derives from the figures embodying the Sense of Hearing, from depictions of the Five Senses. The robust and dynamic figure owes something to Lievens’s teacher Lastman, but more to the great Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens. The large figure scale and the painterly handling in this early work further attest to Lievens’s knowledge of Rubens’s work, which he likely gained during an early, undocumented trip to Antwerp. Rembrandt made use of this figure in one of his earliest paintings, depicting Three Singers, the earliest trace of their famous association.

 
Lievens, Jan
Leiden, Netherlands 1607–Amsterdam, Netherlands 1674
A Man Singing
around 1624
Oil on panel
height / width: 90.20 x 76.30 cm; 35.51 x 30.04 in.
Gift of Alfred and Isabel Bader, 1991
34-020.06

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