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Biography of a Drawing

By: Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

A spectacular discovery: A masterpiece of early Netherlandish drawing

In 1971 the psychiatrist and collector W.A. Hofman (1915 Groningen - Haren 2002) bought a drawing depicting the Crucifixion of Christ at a house-clearance auction in Slochteren. The image reminded him of a painting by Jan van Eyck from c.1430 in the Metropolitan Museum in New York. He believed that the drawing must date from the same period, but the director of the Rijksprentenkabinet in Amsterdam concluded it was a 19th-century copy.

The drawing remained almost completely unknown until 2012, when it was included in the exhibition The Road to Van Eyck. Following extensive research, Hofman was vindicated: it is indeed an exceptionally important work from the 15th century. But precisely who made it and when is still the subject of intense discussion among art historians. Some are convinced that the drawing is by Jan van Eyck himself, while others believe it to be the work of a colleague or follower from the second half of the 15th century. The discovery of the drawing is one of the most spectacular finds in the field of early Netherlandish drawing in recent decades.

Acquisition
The purchase of this mysterieus fifteenth-century drawing was made possible thanks to contributions from Mondriaan Fund and Vereniging Rembrandt

Credits

A film by: Kuba Szutkowski
Concept: Catrien Schreuder and Friso Lammertse
Music: Harm Goslink Kuiper
Camera and animation: Mano Szollosi
Camera assistent: Gino Ragueb
Subtitles: Einion media
Thank you: Els Hoek, Marloes Prins, Ria Bonten, Paul Jansen, Hofman family