Henri Goovaerts

Primavera (copy after Botticelli)

Primavera (copy after Botticelli)
Dating 1892
Material / technique oil on canvas
Dimensions 135 x 206 cm
Literature Nederlandsche Staatscourant, December 31, 1892 Van der Pols-Harris, S., Old master paintings: an illustrated summary catalogue, Den Haag, Zwolle 1992, cat.nr. 293
Exhibitions Maastricht 1966 (Bonnefantenmuseum), 'H. Goovaerts'
Provenance 1892 purchase from Henri Goovaerts by Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten Amsterdam 1954 purchase from Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten Amsterdam by present owner
Current residence Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands, objectnumber R45, residence Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome
Remarks During his stay in Florence Henri Goovaerts was supposed to choose a painting to copy for the benefit of his development as a painter. In October 1891, in a letter to his teacher August Allebé he suggests to copy Botticelli’s Primavera (Spring). In the spring of 1892 he starts the painting. On October 20, 1892 August Allebé writes to Henri Goovaerts: ‘The copy did not only come over in good condition (14 days ago already) but is considered by the Board, by the professors and by me as eminently successful. I consider the choice [of the painting to copy] to be very happy as well as the execution. There are (always spoken according to my view) delicacies of drawing, color and modèle in [the work] of which I thought you would get eye for only later - perhaps only after many years. In short: this work was a very pleasant surprise to me. I therefore immediately suggested the Supervisory Board to purchase it for the Academy and the Board will soon submit the necessary application to the Government. If, as I hope, the Minister of the Interior decides positively on this request, the Academy offers you to buy this copy for 600 guilders.’ Three years later, when Goovaerts was commissioned by the Maastricht Society Momus to create a painting on the theme of charity, he painted 'Charitas', an allegory that shows the influence of Botticelli's Primavera regarding the approach and composition. ‘Charitas’ was offered as a gift to H.M. Queen Wilhelmina during her visit to the city of Maastricht in 1895.
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