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The King Drinks now an official Flemish Masterpiece. Cheers!

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De Koning drinkt, een tekening van Jacob Jordaens

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).

Rare specimen

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.

De Koning drinkt, een tekening van Jacob Jordaens (detail)
The King Drinks (in detail) Notice the precise handling of the pen
De Koning drinkt, een tekening van Jacob Jordaens (detail)
The King Drinks (in detail) The accurate addition of color with water paint and top paint is also striking
De Koning drinkt, een tekening van Jacob Jordaens (detail)
The King Drinks (in detail) You can see how Jordaens continued to adapt and rework this drawing by sticking extra pieces of paper on the sheet and even enlarging it at the bottom
De Koning drinkt, een tekening van Jacob Jordaens (detail)
The King Drinks (in detail) Does this bagpipe player also appear in Jordaens' painting 'The Old Folks Sing, The Young Folks Chirp'?

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.

Masterpiece!

The Flemish Masterpiece List consists of rare and irreplaceable cultural goods. Items that the Flemish Community believes should be kept in Flanders because of their special archaeological, historical, cultural, artistic or scientific importance. The KMSKA is currently home to 111 of the 777 works on the list.

Browse all the masterpieces on the list