This is a brown pen and gray wash drawing in a horizontal format. It shows a sweeping landscape scene with a wooded area in the foreground and distant mountains in the background. In the lower left corner, there is a group of three figures seated among tall trees with full foliage. There are other groups of people positioned in this wooded area. Beyond the trees, there is a rural village with thatched roof buildings, church steeples and windmills. Farmland extends out into a distant mountain range on the right.
Hans Bol was one of the Netherlands' most successful landscape artists during the 16th century. He did many drawings that were a basis for engravings, ranging from large panoramas to miniature views of the countryside.
This painting depicts the interior of a room where four men are grouped around a table. They are painted as half-length figures, and their forms fill the foreground. They are painted in warm tones of brown, red and green and dressed in 16th century Netherlandish clothing. There is a king, wearing a pointed crown, who, with his right arm awkwardly crossed over his left, points to another man across the table. He has a furrowed brow and his mouth is partially open as if he is speaking. Next to him is a man looking downward, intently counting coins piled on the table. The third man pauses while writing in a book, his hand with the pen is stopped in mid-air, and looks back at the king. The fourth man, on the other side of the table, has his hands clasped in a pleading gesture and his eyes meet the gaze of the king. Items in the room and on the table such as books, scissors, a money bag, and an hourglass, are painted in great detail. In the upper right, a small outdoor scene, painted in tones of light green, shows an imaginary cityscape with a man being dragged into an underground chamber by some soldiers.
Jan van Hemessen has been credited with originating this type of moralizing genre painting. Here he paints a version of one of Christ's parables from the New Testament (Matthew 18:23-35). A king was settling his accounts and a servant was unable to pay his large debt of money. After the servant pleaded for mercy, the king took pity and released him from his debt. Later, this man saw a fellow servant who owed him money and demanded payment. The man could not repay him and the servant sent him to prison. When the king heard of this, he summoned the servant and punished him since he had not shown the same mercy that was given to him by the king.
The scene of a tax collector's office was a common subject in Flemish art in the 16th century, but Van Hemesson has added the narrative elements of the parable to relate the importance of forgiveness. He has chosen to show the moment in the story when the king denounces the servant, " You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you besought me: and should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?" (Matthew 18: 32-33)
This chalk drawing on laid paper is vertically oriented. It is executed in black and red chalk, heightened with white, on tan paper. The piece is dominated with a dancing child satyr with goat legs and curly hair. He is wearing a redish cape. With one foot on the ground and one in the air, he is visible from his right side and he holds a small horn and a tambourine. He looks to the sky with his mouth agape. Several blades of grass suggest the ground below him.
This chalk drawing depicts a young satyr, the half-human and half-goat creatures who joined in the revelry of Dionysus, the Greek god of wine. He carries a tamborine and a horn, with legs in motion and his mouth open as if in song. Jacob Jordaens was one of Antwerp's leading figure painters during the 17th c. working in a style similar to his friend, Peter Paul Rubens. This may have been a preparatory drawing for one of his mythological scenes.
Eight robed male figures, each with a halo, kneel before a v-shaped bench or rail. They face a male figure with a crossed halo that stands on the other side of the bench, holding a golden chalice in his left hand and a circular white wafer imprinted with a crucifixion scene in his right. An altar draped with a red cloth appears behind him. The entire scene is enframed within the letter "C."
This miniature scene, enclosed within the letter "C," depicts Christ standing before an altar giving the bread and wine of communion to the Apostles. The painting has been cut from a manuscript, where the letter "C" served as the initial letter of the phrase used to begin the mass for the Feast of Corpus Christi, an important Christian holy day dedicated to commemorating Christ's bodily sacrifice. The image of communion in the miniature introduces this feast perfectly, since according to Catholic belief the bread and wine were transformed into Christ's body and blood during the mass.