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7.4 Morell’s Critical Catalogue (1767)

The contents of this gallery are documented in Morell’s Beurtheilendes Verzeichniß aller in der Neuen Gallerie befindlichen kostbahren Mahlereyen […] (Critical Catalogue of all the Precious Paintings Located in the New Gallery) of 1767. By this time the constellation of individuals responsible for the art collection at the Danish court had changed fundamentally. King Frederick V, who favoured the erection of a gallery, had died in 1766 and in his wake Morell’s mentor, Adam Gottlob Moltke (1710-1792) [i], also fell. The new, mentally unstable King Christian VII (1749-1808) appears to have had no real interest in the art collection. Against this background Morell’s Verzeichnis, in which he expressed gratitude for the royal confidence in him and for his reaffirmation as gallery director, was equally intended to alert the king to the treasures of the gallery as well as to the indispensability of its director. Thus Morell expresses the hope that the king may ‘experience pleasant enjoyment by admiring what is beautiful, noble and elevated’. With this kind of aesthetic vocabulary of the Enlightenment, the gallery director incorporates a reference to his own competence and decisiveness when he speaks of a collection ‘that was made with choice and knowledge, and furnished with order, harmony and taste’. It is these attributes that also apply to the qualitative criteria for a collection and collector in contemporary auction catalogues.1 As an entirely practical gesture to the king, Morell offered to introduce a comparable new arrangement to the Kunstkammer, the director of which, Wahl, had already died in 1765, as well as to inspect the holdings of paintings of Frederiksborg Castle.

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Georg Wilhelm Bauernfeind  after Carl Gustav Pilo, Portrait of Fieldmarschal Adam Gottlob Moltke (1710-1792),  dated 1757

Georg Wilhelm Bauernfeind  after Carl Gustav Pilo
Portrait of Fieldmarschal Adam Gottlob Moltke (1710-1792) dated 1757
paper, ? x ? mm
lower right :  G.W. Baurenfeind fec. Chalcogr. Hafnia
lower left :  C.G. Pilo pinx. Pict.et Prof. Acad. Reg..Dan
SMK - The Royal Collection of Graphic Art, Copenhagen, no. KK 3961 / 422



The ‘critical catalogue’ documents the state of the gallery as Morell had conceived and installed it. At the same time each artist is classified art-historically, with each painting described with respect to its provenance, its meaning in the oeuvre, or it place on the art market. As this was not a commemorative record of the Danish Royal house, only portraits of exceptional artistic quality came to be exhibited. Dutch and Flemish paintings were greatly in the majority, interestingly with histories outnumbering genre paintings and still lifes. 

Table 1
Collection of the Royal Gallery in Copenhagen 1767 –
Breakdown by provenance
(in %) 

Dutch
58,3
Flemish
25,0
German
 1,7
English
 0
French
 5,0
Italian
 6,7
Other
 0
Unknown
 3,3
 

Table 2
Collection of the Royal Gallery in Copenhagen 1767 –
Breakdown by subject
(in %)

Portraits
 6,7
Histories
40,0
Landscapes
16,7
Genre
 20,0
Still lifes
11,6
Animals
 3,3
Other
 1,7
Unknown
 0

As the acquisitions for the Kunstkammer with respect to Morell are well documented, one can in great part identify the exhibited pieces. It should be said that many of the paintings in the new gallery had come to Copenhagen in the 1750s; on the one hand they belonged to those that Morell had sold to the Kunstkammer from Hamburg in 1755; on the other they were paintings which Morell – already having a picture gallery in mind – had purchased in the Low Countries in 1759. At issue are mainly Dutch and Flemish cabinet paintings of the kind that also featured in the collection of Minister Moltke.2 Perhaps one can even discern two competing collections as conceived by Morell. That could explain that Morell preferred expensive histories as well as Flemish still lifes and animal paintings to the more affordable landscapes. To the former genre belong, for instance, the Sea Battle by Bakhuizen (800 rd.), a hunting still life by each of Dirk Valkenburg and Jan Weenix (400 and 300 rd. Respectively [i][i]), a Poultry Yard by Melchior d’Hondercoeter (300 rd.), a Fruit and Flower Still Life by Joris van Son (300 rd.), a Kitchen Scene by Frans Snijders (200 rd.) [i] and a Crowning with Thorns by Hendrick ter Brugghen (300 rd., purchased as Honthorst) [i].3

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Dirk Valkenburg, Still life of game and fruit in a park

Dirk Valkenburg
Still life of game and fruit in a park (1690 - 1721)
oil paint / canvas, 140 x 191 cm
lower right :  J. Wenincx
SMK - National Gallery of Denmark, Copenhagen, no. KMSsp621



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Jan Weenix, Hunting still life in a formal garden, dated 1701

Jan Weenix
Hunting still life in a formal garden dated 1701
oil paint / canvas, 148 x 130,5 cm
center right :  J. Weenix f / 1701
SMK - National Gallery of Denmark, Copenhagen, no. KMSsp621



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Frans Snijders  or studio of Frans Snijders, Still life with fruit on a table, first half of the 1620s

Frans Snijders  or studio of Frans Snijders
Still life with fruit on a table first half of the 1620s
oil paint / canvas, 118,5 x 177,5 cm
SMK - National Gallery of Denmark, Copenhagen, no. KMSsp209



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Hendrick ter Brugghen, The mocking of Christ, dated 1620

Hendrick ter Brugghen
The mocking of Christ dated 1620
oil paint / canvas, 207 x 240 cm
lower left :  HTBrugghen / fecit 1620
SMK - National Gallery of Denmark, Copenhagen, no. KMSsp365



Of the acquisitions of 1759, the portraits by Ferdinand Bol (25 rd.), Bartholomeus van der Helst (28 rd.) [i], Michiel van Mierevelt (20 rd., now Pickenoy), Rembrandt’s Christ and the Disciples on the Road to Emmaus (75 rd.), Ferdinand Bol’s Easter Morning (180 rd.) [i], Adriaen van Nieulandt’s Entry into Jerusalem (100 rd.) [i], Castiglione‘s Rebecca at the Well (65 rd.), Roos’ Bull Fight (250 rd.), Zacharias Webber‘s Allegory on the Sciences (100 rd.) [i], landscapes by Jan Hackaert (65 rd.), Wouwermans (64 rd.) and Van der Does’ (20 rd.) as well as a battle piece by Jan van Huchtenburg (100 rd.) [i] all found a place on the walls. Of the artistically important acquisitions of 1763, only an Italian Landscape by Horatius de Hooch (50 rd.) [i] and a Northern Landscape by Allaert van Everdingen (60 rd.) were considered. The large Italian works of the Valenti collection appeared to challenge the character of the cabinet.

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Bartholomeus van der Helst, Portrait of a man sitting on hardbacked chair, c. 1659

Bartholomeus van der Helst
Portrait of a man sitting on hardbacked chair c. 1659
oil paint / canvas, 97 x 78 cm
SMK - National Gallery of Denmark, Copenhagen



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Ferdinand Bol, The three Mary's at the empty tomb, dated1644

Ferdinand Bol
The three Mary's at the empty tomb dated1644
oil paint / canvas, 280 x 358 mm
lower right :  f.Bol fecit 1644
SMK - National Gallery of Denmark, Copenhagen, no. KMS sp 427



X
Adriaen van Nieulandt, Christ's triumphal entry in Jerusalem, dated 1655

Adriaen van Nieulandt
Christ's triumphal entry in Jerusalem dated 1655
oil paint / panel, 85,5 x 114 cm
SMK - National Gallery of Denmark, Copenhagen



X
Zacharias  Webber (II), Allegory on Apollo as patron of the arts and artists, dated 1672

Zacharias  Webber (II)
Allegory on Apollo as patron of the arts and artists dated 1672
oil paint / canvas, 191 x 163 cm
center :  Z:Webber Fecit 1672
SMK - National Gallery of Denmark, Copenhagen



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Jan van Huchtenburg, An equestrian battle scene

Jan van Huchtenburg
An equestrian battle scene (1662 - 1733)
oil paint / canvas, 113 x 155 cm
SMK - National Gallery of Denmark, Copenhagen, no. KMSsp634



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Horatius de Hooch, Italianate landscape with travelers near a ruin, dated 1652

Horatius de Hooch
Italianate landscape with travelers near a ruin dated 1652
oil paint / canvas, 100,5 x 151,5 cm
lower right :  HD Hooch 1652
SMK - National Gallery of Denmark, Copenhagen, no. KMSsp315



As part of the way pictures were hung, paintings by Roos, Ter Brugghen and Bol came to be juxtaposed with works that were already in the Kunstkammer, such as the pictures by Jacob Jordaens (after Ovid) [i], with an Allegory by Pietro Liberi as well as a Wedding of Alexander and Roxane by Gerard de Lairesse [i] at the middle. The same role was served on the side walls by the Kitchen still lifes by Frans Snijders.

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Jacob  Jordaens (I), The apotheosis of Aeneas (Ovid, Met.XIV, 581-608)), c. 1617

Jacob  Jordaens (I)
The apotheosis of Aeneas (Ovid, Met.XIV, 581-608)) c. 1617
oil paint / canvas, 212,5 x 236 cm
SMK - National Gallery of Denmark, Copenhagen, no. KMS1310a



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Gerard de Lairesse, Marriage of Alexander and Roxana, dated 1664

Gerard de Lairesse
Marriage of Alexander and Roxana dated 1664
oil paint / canvas, 79 x 89,5 cm
lower left :  ANº1664 Gerardus Larissus inventor fecit
SMK - National Gallery of Denmark, Copenhagen, no. KMSsp306



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Frans Snijders, Kitchen scene with game and vegetables, with a serving boy holding a plate with the head of a boar, c. 1616-1618

Frans Snijders
Kitchen scene with game and vegetables, with a serving boy holding a plate with the head of a boar c. 1616-1618
oil paint / canvas, 123,2 x 239,7 cm
lower center :  F. Snyders. fecit
SMK - National Gallery of Denmark, Copenhagen, no. KMSsp208



Morell leaves us in the dark with regard to what motivated him to select precisely these works for the gallery. Authentication of his claim to a connoisseur’s ability to differentiate between original and copy may have been one criteria; and indeed, most of Morell’s proposed attributions for the new gallery hold to this day. Justification for the high prices at the sales of 1755 may also have played a role. It also appears to have been important for Morell to convey a representative overview of the Dutch and Flemish painters, with their characteristic masterpieces. In the process he largely repeats the body of artists uncovered by Houbraken and passed on by Jean Baptiste Descamps, although he is more inclined to be critical of details. For instance, he notes that because of the ‘negligence of Houbraken’, the teacher and year of death of Johannes Lingelbach are not known. In the case of Mierevelt he relegates the 5,000 paintings that the artist is said to have done by Houbraken, along with Descamps’ 10,000, to the land of fables. On the other hand he agrees with Descamps’ assessment of the worth of Bartholomeus van der Helst.4



[1]

 According to Zelle 2002 .

[2]

See § 6.5.

[3]

The Bakhuizen, Hondecoeter and the two Van Sons are illustrated in § 6.2.

[4]

See § 6.2.

Datum laatste wijziging: Apr 21, 2015 11:01 AM