The J. Paul Getty Museum

The Stoning of Saint Stephen

Object Details

Title:

The Stoning of Saint Stephen

Artist/Maker:

Bartholomeus Breenbergh (Dutch, 1598 - 1657)

Culture:

Dutch

Date:

1632

Medium:

Oil on panel

Object Number:

84.PB.639

Dimensions:

67.5 × 92.1 cm (26 9/16 × 36 1/4 in.)

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Object Description

Large Roman ruins loom in the background, against which excited figures engage in a brutal murder. In the shadowy right foreground, Saint Stephen kneels in prayer; behind him a shirtless man takes aim with a large rock. All around, people scurry to pick up rocks to hurl at the defenseless saint. A small boy helps out by bringing stones to the adults.

Bartholomeus Breenberg depicted the martyrdom of the early Christian deacon Stephen, the first Christian martyr. In the left foreground, a man turns to face the viewer and points at the grisly scene before him. Scholars initially thought this was a self-portrait of the artist; they later identified this man as Paul who, before his conversion to Christianity, assisted at Stephen's stoning by guarding the clothes of the executioners.

When Breenberg made this painting, landscape as a genre, and the Dutch Italianate landscape tradition that Breenberg helped develop, was gaining popularity but was not fully accepted as a justifiable subject by itself. Thus, the figures or narrative were often the excuse for painting a landscape.

Provenance
Provenance
- 1797

Jan Danser Nijman [sold, Nijman sale, Ph. van der Schley et al., Amsterdam, August 16, 1797, lot 27, to De Roy (or De Rooij).]
Source: Ph. van der Shley, et al., Amsterdam. Catalogus van een uitmuntend kabinet kunstige schilderyen [...]. August 16, 1797 (Lugt 5640) [annotated copy].

1797 -

De Roy (or De Rooij) (Brussels, Belgium)

- 1839

Cardinal Joseph Fesch, 1763 - 1839 (Paris, France; Rome, Italy), upon his death, held in trust by the estate.

1839 - 1845

Estate of Cardinal Joseph Fesch, 1763 - 1839 [sold, Fesch sale, (George), Rome, March 17-18, 1845, lot 29, sold to Terry (or Therry).]
Source: Palais Falgonieri, Rome. Galerie de feu S. E. le cardinal Fesch [...]. March 17-18, 1845 [annotated copy, National Gallery, London].

1845 -

Terry (or Therry)

before 1964

General John Ross Delafield, 1874 - 1964 (New York, New York), sold to Emile E. Wolf, before 1964.

before 1964 - 1984

Emile E. Wolf (New York, New York), sold through Hoogsteder-Naumann, Ltd. (New York, New York) to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1984.

Exhibitions
Exhibitions
17th Century Paintings from the Low Countries (February 27 to March 27, 1966)
  • Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University (Waltham), February 27 to March 27, 1966
The Origins of the Italian Veduta (March 3 to March 26, 1978)
  • David Winton Bell Gallery, Brown University (Providence), March 3 to March 26, 1978
The Discovery of the Everyday: Seventeenth Century Dutch Paintings from the Wolf Collection (1982)
  • Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design (Providence), 1982
  • The Chrysler Museum of Art (Norfolk), 1982
  • Tampa Museum of Art (Tampa), 1982
Bibliography
Bibliography

Ph. van der Schley, et al., Amsterdam. Catalogus van een uitmuntend kabinet kunstige schilderyen, door beroemde Nederlandsche en andere voornaame meesters [...] nagelaaten door wylen den Heere Jan Danser Nyman. August 16, 1797, p. 6, lot 27.

Catalogue des tableaux composant la galerie de feu son Eminence le Cardinal Fesch (Rome: Imprimerie de Joseph Salviucci et Fils, 1841), pp. 15-16, no. 289.

Palais Falgonieri, Rome. Galerie de feu S. E. le cardinal Fesch [...]. March 17-18, 1845, vol. 1 (1844), p. 24, lot 29.

Gilbert, Creighton, ed. 17th Century Paintings from the Low Countries, exh. cat. (Waltham: Poses Institute of Fine Arts, with Rose Art Museum, 1966), pp. 14-15, no. 4, ill.

Lavergnée, Arnauld Bréjon de, et al., eds. Le siècle de Rembrandt: Tableaux hollandais des collections publiques françaises, exh. cat. (Paris: Musée du Petit Palais, 1970), p. 29, under no. 28, entry by Jacques Foucart.

The Origins of the Italian Veduta, exh. cat. (Providence: Brown University, 1978), p. 51-52, 88, no. 36, ill.

Roethlisberger, Marcel G. Bartholomeus Breenbergh: The Paintings (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1981), ppf. 62, 84, no. 144, under no. 213, ill.

Robinson, Franklin W., ed. The Discovery of the Everyday: Seventeenth Century Dutch Paintings from the Wolf Collection, exh. cat. (Norfolk: The Chrysler Museum, 1982), unpaginated, no. 5, cover ill.

"Acquisitions/1984." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 13 (1985), pp. 207-8, no. 132, ill.

Sutton, Peter C. A Guide to Dutch Art in America (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1986), p. 139.

Roethslisberger, Marcel George. Bartholomeus Breenbergh, exh. cat. (New York: Richard L. Feigen and Co., 1991), p. v.

"Breenbergh." In Allgemeines Künstlerlexikon. Günter Meissner, ed. (Munich: K. G. Saur, 1992-), vol. 14 (1996), p. 66.

"Part II: Paintings Sold in the Past." In Otto Naumann, Ltd. Inaugural Exhibition of Old Master Paintings, 12 January-1 March 1995, exh. cat. (New York: Otto Naumann, Ltd., 1995), p. 147, ill.

Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 17, ill.