Colnaghi Collections_Vol 01 - Page 109



XIII
EBERHART KEILHAU,
CALLED MONSÙ BERNARDO
Elsinor, ca. 1624 -1626 – Rome, 1687
Arrest of Christ
Oil on canvas
111.5 x 165 cm
PROVENANCE
Born in Elsinore, Denmark ca. 1624-1626, Eberhart Keilhau spent a
Private Collection, Madrid
number of years in Holland, where he studied in Rembrandt’s atelier
from 1642 to 1644 before establishing himself as an independent
LITERATURE
artist. In 1651 he travelled to Venice, stopping briefly in Germany
Unpublished
and the Tyrol along the way. Keilhau spent three years in Venice
(1651-1654) and a year in Bergamo (1654-1655), followed by a short
trip to Ferrara and Emilia Romagna (1655-1656). On 31 March
1656, he arrived in Rome, where he was to reside until his death in
1687 (he was buried in the church of Santa Maria in Traspontina).
Although born a Lutheran, he converted to Catholicism and changed
his name to Bernardo (whence his nickname Monsù Bernardo).
Best known for his genre scenes, which make up the majority of
his output, Keilhau painted a small number of religious paintings,
most likely executed in the 1650s during his early years in Italy.1
The present work is therefore of particular importance given the
rarity of its subject within the artist’s oeuvre. Minna Heimbürger
has noted that Keilhau’s religious pictures show “the influence of
other artists’ depictions of similar sacred themes”, and he relied
on established treatments “in order to tackle subjects in which he
did not specialize.”2 Examples of this practice include: Samson and
Delilah ( Jerusalem, Israel Museum), which draws on Gioacchino
Assereto’s painting in the Fondazione Longhi, Florence, albeit
interpreted with a certain freedom and executed in Keilhau’s own
personal style; and the Supper at Emmaus in the Galleria Pallavicini,
Rome which recalls Bernardo Strozzi’s depiction of the same
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