© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

Hans Bol is best known for his exquisite miniature landscapes in opaque and transparent watercolors. About one hundred of these works, including the two shown here [2001.54 and 2004.75], have survived, with dated examples ranging from 1579 until 1593, the year of his death. A previously unknown study that came to light in 2014 shows that Bol originally designed these two landscapes as a single oblong composition, with The Outskirts of a Village with Peasants as the left half and Abraham and the Angels as the right half. For unknown reasons he divided the work into two, and on all four sides of each half he added the borders that he routinely used to frame his miniatures: a thin line in shell gold and a thicker one in dark red opaque watercolor. Only Outskirts of a Village is signed and dated.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Hans Bol, Netherlandish (Mechelen, Belgium 1534 - 1593 Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Abraham and the Angels
Work Type
Physical Descriptions
Opaque and transparent watercolor over traces of black chalk on antique laid paper mounted overall to wood panel; traces of framing lines in shell gold and dark red opaque watercolor
11.2 x 15.3 cm (4 7/16 x 6 in.)
framed: 19.1 x 23.7 cm (7 1/2 x 9 5/16 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: panel, verso, lower center, white chalk: 44
  • inscription: panel, verso, center, graphite: 3
  • inscription: panel, verso, lower center, graphite: nrbeyy [? illegible]
  • inscription: panel, verso, lower right, paper etiquette with blue framing and printing: 575
Carel Goldschmidt, New York, sold; [Christie's, New York, 12 January 1995, lot 215]; to Vermeer Associates, Limited, Brampton, Ontario, sold; to Harvard University Art Museums, 2004; Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, The Kate, Maurice R. and Melvin R. Seiden Special Purchase Fund in honor of Joseph Koerner and Margaret Koster, 2004.75.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, The Kate, Maurice R. and Melvin R. Seiden Special Purchase Fund in honor of Joseph Koerner and Margaret Koster
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art
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Publication History

Old Master & British Drawings & Watercolors, auct. cat. (London, July 10, 2014), under lot 132, p. 28, repr. fig. 2

William W. Robinson and Susan Anderson, Drawings from the Age of Bruegel, Rubens, and Rembrandt: Highlights from the Collection of the Harvard Art Museums, Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2016), p. 18; cat. no. 10b, pp. 55-57, repr. p. 56; watermark p. 375

Exhibition History

Drawings from the Age of Bruegel, Rubens, and Rembrandt, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 05/21/2016 - 08/14/2016

Subjects and Contexts

Dutch, Flemish, & Netherlandish Drawings

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of European and American Art at am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu