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Guilliam van Nieulandt II (Flanders 1584-1635)

View of the Forum Romanum in Rome with Rebekah and Eliezer at the well (Genesis, 24:17)

To be sold at Uppsala Auktionskammare’s Important Sale Week 6 – 9 December 2022

Lot 326 Guilliam van Nieulandt II (Flanders 1584-1635). View of the Forum Romanum in Rome with Rebekah and Eliezer at the well (Genesis, 24:17). Signed and dated lower left Guil Nieulant 16[…]. Oil on panel, 93 x 123 cm.


250.000 – 300.000 SEK
€ 23.000 – 28.000


Christie’s, New York, 18 May 1995, lot 27.
Christie’s, New York, 24 January 2003, lot 18.
Societe Thierry de Maigret, Paris, 7 December 2016, lot 50.
Otto Naumann Ltd., New York.
A Swedish private collection.

In context


Guilliam van Nieulandt II’s “View of the Forum Romanum” classifies by its large format and richness in details as a truly kapitaal schilderij (capital painting). In an excellent state of conservation and on a beautiful oak panel, the painting offers us a view of the classical ruins in Rome with the story of Rebekah and Eliezer at the well taking place in the foreground. Eliezer was sent by Abraham to find a bride for his son Isaac. At the well he meets Rebekah and is immediately struck by her beauty. Prudently Eliezer puts her on a test and asks for assistance to water his camels. Rebekah helps Eliezer which gives him confirmation that she will be the future bride for Isaac.

Van Nieulandt places the scene in a Roman setting, combining different motifs from the ancient city in a capriccio as a backdrop. Here we see the three columns reminiscent of the Temple of Castor and Pollux in the center with the famous Dioscuri at the Quirinal, which were among the most admired antique statues in Rome at the time, displayed on the right. This pair of marble statues were Roman copies after bronzes believed to be by Phidias and Praxiteles and dominated the Piazza del Quirinale. On the left is an unidentified ruin, recorded in van Nieulandt’s drawing formerly in the Fairfax Murray collection previously attributed to Paul Bril (sold at Finarte, Milan, 22 March 1999, lot 56). This arched ruin probably stood at the Palatine and was perhaps once part of the bathes of Caracalla.

Van Nieulandt painted this view in the 1620s while living in Antwerp. He had returned to the city in 1609 after twenty years of exile in Amsterdam. The van Nieulandts had arrived there as immigrants obviously for religious reasons in 1589. Guilliam received his first training as a painter in Amsterdam and continued his education in the years 1601‑1604 with his uncle Guilliam I in Rome. For at least one year he was also an apprentice in Paul Bril’s studio.

During his stay, van Nieulandt recorded the classical monuments and ruins of the city in numerous drawings, which he subsequently used for paintings such as the present, offering to the new clientele in the north the first vedute. These collectors must have had pleasure in identifying the various buildings, having perhaps visited the sites themselves or having engraved series such as by Hieronymus Cock as a guide at their side.

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Sofie Bexhed


Tel: 0705-22 61 62

Amanda Rass


Tel: 0720-70 22 61

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