JAN BOECKHORST (Münster or Rees 1604 – 1668 Antwerp)

Jan Boeckhorst

Jan Boeckhorst (Münster or Rees 1604 – 1668 Antwerp)

The Supper at Emmaus

Oil on paper, laid down on panel, 152 x 200 mm (6 x 7.9 inch)

- Commissioned by the Plantin-Moretus printing workshop, Antwerp, and payment of 20 florins to Boeckhorst documented in their accounts on either 18th July 1652 or 23rd January 1653
- With Rafael Valls, London, and shown at TEFAF, Maastricht, March 1999
- Private Collection, The Netherlands

By Cornelis Galle II (1615-1678) as a vignette of Dominica Resurrectionis published in the Missale Romanum, Antwerp 1653

Maria Galen, Johann Boeckhorst, Gemälde und Zeichnungen, Hamburg 2012, p. 283, no. Z28, repr. (colour)


Jan Boeckhorst was born in Westphalia as the son of the mayor of Münster, Heinrich Bockhorst, and moved to Antwerp around 1626, where he was taught by Jacob Jordaens and Peter Paul Rubens. Boeckhorst finished paintings started by the great Antwerp master and also collaborated on large projects, such as the work celebrating the joyous entry of Cardinal-Infante Ferdinand in 1635.

From 1635 to 1639 Boeckhorst travelled in Italy, and joined the ‘Bentveughels’ in Rome, where he took the pseudonym ‘Lange Jan’ (Tall Jan). After his return to Antwerp he specialised in painting large-scale religious works for many churches and monasteries in the Southern Netherlands, promoting the virtues of the Counter Reformation.

The present informal and rapid sketch, executed very much in the manner of Rubens’s oil sketches, has recently been published by Maria Galen in the new catalogue raisonné of Boeckhorst’s works. Galen dates our sketch around 1652/53, and points out that it was engraved by Cornelis Galle as a vignette of Dominica Resurrectionis for the Missale Romanum, published in Antwerp by Plantin-Moretus in 1653 (see last figs.).1 Our oil sketch is in mirror image to the engraving, and together with the fact that the hound and small table in the foreground are lacking in the print, this indicates that the oil sketch was made in preparation for the engraver. Oil sketches by Boeckhorst are extremely rare.

The Missale Romanum had earlier been published in 1613 and 1650, and the 1653 edition included engravings from the 1613 issue, together with new vignettes. Boeckhorst provided nine new designs for the 1653 vignettes, which are documented in the archive of the Plantin-Moretus archive. On 18th July 1652 he was paid twenty florins each for four vignettes, and on 23th January 1653 for five further designs.2 Among the other vignetttes were representations of the Resurrection and Noli me Tangere.3


1. Maria Galen, Johann Boeckhorst, Gemälde und Zeichnungen, Hamburg 2013, pp. 280-81, No. Z27.

2. ‘Adi ditto betaelt voor vier nieuwe teeckeningen voor den Missale in fol. Magno vande vignetten tot fl. 20 het stuck door Langhen Jan gheteeckent fl. 80’ and ‘Adi 23 ditto betaelt voor vijf vignetten te teeckenen voor het Missale in folio door Langhen Jan gheteeckend a fl. 20- fl. 100.’; Plantin-Moretus archive, Antwerp, Bundel 167, ‘Bijzondere Uitgaven 1637-1678’, fol. 89 verso and 92 verso; see Galen, op. cit., p. 273, note 509.

3. Galen, op. cit., pp. 270-85.