How do you assemble an art collection that embraces seven centuries? Take a walk with us in the museum’s history.
A work in the KMSKA collection has recently been added to the official list of Flemish Masterpieces: the 17th-century drawing The King Drinks by Jacob Jordaens.
Jordaens depicted the Twelfth Night or Epiphany theme several times, focusing in each case on the same moment: when the king for the evening raises his glass and the company calls out in unison ‘The King drinks!’.
The version in our collection dates from 1640 and is actually a design that Jordaens made for an engraving by his fellow artist and contemporary Paulus Pontius (1603–1658).
It is a rare piece, as it is the only independent genre drawing by Jacob Jordaens still in Flanders to be worked out so richly and on such a large scale.
The work is immensely valuable in artistic terms too. Notice in particular the precise handling of the pen and the deft addition of colour using watercolour and gouache.
The insight that the drawing gives us into Jacob Jordaens’ creative process makes it even more special. You can see how he continued to adjust and rework the composition by sticking extra pieces of paper to the sheet and even enlarging it in the lower right.