“One sees clearly only with the heart. The essential is invisible to the eye “, said the fox to the Little Prince according to Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
But the “essential” protagonist of our story is visible and is visible above all to diagnostic investigations such as reflectography, radiography, x-ray fluorescence and dendrochronology. We are talking about The Holy Family created by Jacob Jordaens which was exhibited for about sixty years in the offices of the city planning councilor of Saint Gilles (one of the 19 municipalities that make up Brussels) and considered a copy.
When, as part of the recent inventory campaign promoted by the Brussels Region, the painting was detached from the wall, it was possible to appreciated what was never seen before, first of all the presence of the trademarks of the panel. It was therefore decided to subject the work to in-depth scientific investigations, with the result of being able to attribute the work to the hand of Jordaens and to set the year 1615 as the date of realization. The same composition was replicated by Master in three more paintings, currently exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Hermitage in St. Petersburg and the Alte Pinakotek in Munich.
The Brussels’ work will be restored and then exhibited in the Old Masters section of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts in Brussels.
Who knows how many other unrecognized treasures adorn the waiting rooms of offices and buildings? What a teasing question!