A painting by the Flemish Baroque master Jacob Jordaens (1593-1678) was discovered in the town hall of Sint-Gillis, a part of Brussels. The work was in the Office of the city councilman for almost sixty years, without anyone knowing that it was a composition of the Holy Family of Jordaens.
The precious painted panel has been verified as the oldest known version of a composition of the Holy Family that Jordaens used in three other paintings. These works can be found in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum in New York, The Hermitage in Saint Petersburg and the Alte Pinakothek in Munich. The Royal Institute for the art Patrimonium made the “incredible discovery” during an inventory last year.
Experts believe the work dates back to around 1617-1618. In addition, research shows that Baroque painter Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641) used wood from the same tree for several of his compositions. The young Jordaens and Van Dyck probably worked in the workshop of Peter Paul Rubens in Antwerp at the same time.
The artwork will now be restored and is expected to be exhibited at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts in Belgium by the end of next year.