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Title A Man Writing
Collection Southampton City Art Gallery
Artist Eeckhout, Jakob Josef (Dutch painter, 1793-1861)
Date 1859 (dated)
Signed yes

In his day Jakob Josef Eeckhout was a highly successful painter, sculptor, water-colourist and lithographer. A pupil at the prestigious Antwerp Academy, he won first prize for sculpture in 1821 at the Brussels Salon and, after a decade as a member, in 1839 he was appointed Director of The Hague's Koninklijk Nederlands Instituut. In 1844 he returned to Belgium where he remained until 1859 when he retired to Paris for the last years of his life.

The Southampton panel was painted during Eeckhout's final year as a practicing artist. It reveals his fully mature style founded on a closely observant technique. This was intended to recall with self-conscious historicism the works of Dutch seventeenth century painters of the Golden Age such as Gerrit Dou (1613-1675) and Frans van Mieris (1635-1681) whose highly detailed small scale works were highly prized by nineteenth century collectors.

In A Man Writing, Eeckhout depicts a figure in early old age bent over a desk, writing with a quill pen. A spare quill is propped in his inkpot and a pewter beer tankard is at his elbow. The coat and hat slung over a stool in the right foreground of the picture and his sword propped against the chair to the left are suggestive of the man's retirement from active life, while the large classicising fire place, with a gilt framed painting over the mantle, are indicative of the comfortable status the man has achieved in life.

Current Accession Number SCAG 167
Inscription front ll 'Eeckhout 1859'
Subject interior; everyday life
Measurements 41.3 x 33.3 cm cm (estimate)
Material oil on panel
Acquisition Details Unknown; accessioned 1941.
Publications Southampton Art Gallery, Illustrated Inventory of Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, 1980, p. 28; Wright, C., Renaissance to Impressionism: Masterpieces from Southampton City Art Gallery, London, 1998, p. 91, no. 23.
Rights Owner Southampton City Art Gallery
Author Francesco Nevola



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