A great minor master: The Robbery by Simon Kick in the Berlin Gemäldegalerie. With an appendix including a complete catalogue of paintings by Simon Kick (1603-1652)

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One of the loveliest and iziost intriguing l7th-century Dutch paintings in the Berlin Gemäldegalerie is undoubtedly The Robbery by Simon Kick (Fig. 1). This painting, and indeed its creator are still clouded by anonymity, misconception and inadequate esteem. This paper is aimed at dissipating this cloud, thereby shedding more light on the painting and its maker, but also on the practices of l7th-century Dutch painters as a whole. The Robbery depicts a group of men in a landscape. A strikingly elegant man stands in the middle and gestures with his hand to the left. He addresses a soldier who stands before him with his back to the viewer. This sword-wearing soldier leans towards the man, lifts his coat with his hand, and seems to be searching for money or valuables. A second gentleman stands to the right holding a document in his hands, while a third is seen behind holding his gloves in his hand. Behind this group of figures, a second group consisting of three soldiers convenes around a pile of personal belongings scattered on the ground. In the middle of this group a crouching soldier examines the contents of a hand bag while his two comrades carefully watch him. Behind them stands a horse harnessed to a coach, the coachman standing behind it, resting his head on his hand in a melancholy gesture. The soldiers have evidently stopped time coach carrying these gentlemen, and are now conducting a search. This event takes place on the curve of a deserted country road under two large trees at the edge of an oak forest. A church spire can be seen through the trees on the horizon. The purposes of this study are first, to show that The Robbery by Simon Kick from Berlin is a unique example of the conglomeration of various visual and practical traditions in 17th-century Dutch genre painting. Second, it aims to shed light on Simon Kick's working process, particularly his collaboration with other painters. Finally, it sets out to lay the foundations for renewed awareness and appreciation of this painter, and consequently of other so-called Dutch minor masters. This will be achieved first by presenting new information on the provenance of this painthig, which will clarify its reception and the meaning attached to it through the ages, and secondly by examining the visual sources of this theme in Netherlandish art. Next this painting is positioned in the context of Simon Kick's entire oeuvre, a process which has in addition yielded time attached catalogue of paintings by this master. Finally, the special part played by the Berlin Gemäldegalerie (and its predecessor institutes), and by Dr. Wilhelm von Bode in particular, in the process of rediscovering Simon Kick is addressed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-94
Number of pages10
JournalJahrbuch Der Berliner Museen
StatePublished - 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Museology


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