THE FOUR SEASONS
Drawing in pencil and watercolor made in 1791 by Abraham Delfos after a painting by Jan Wandelaar from 1752. Signed and dated on the stone in the front. Size: 31,8 x 24,2 cm.
We see four putti representing the seasons. Spring is sniffing lavender, an aphrodisiac commonly used in Antiquity; Autumn looks at us and gestures with grapes at a chalice that we need to make wine, the grape leaves are bound in a wreath around his head; in summer it is warm and the putto takes a nap on the harvested corn; Winter warms itself above a bowl of glowing coals. In the background there is a ruin with a rosette with the signs of the zodiac and Janus, the two faced god. The young face on the left is January, the New Year; the old face (traditionally with beard) represents the old year. One looks to the future, the other to the past, referring to the cycle of life.
Abraham Delfos (1731-1820) was an engraver, draftsman and art dealer in a time when when there were lots of old paintings on the Dutch market. As an art dealer, he had an almost daily opportunity to expand his knowledge. Delfos knew his colleague Jan Wandelaar (1690-1759) from Leiden, where the latter worked on a famous book with anatomical prints of the human body. (Nice detail: in a rather dull Geschiedenis der Vaderlandsche Schilderkunst [History of Dutch Painting] published in 1816, it is mentioned that the beauty of Jan Wanderlaars second wife, a certain Catharina Beatrix van Eyk, should not go unnoticed.)