Signed J. Brents Fec
Gouache, heightened with gold, on paper laid on board
81 x 103 mm. (3 x 4 1/8 in.)
Little is known about Berents, who proudly often included Mathematico in his signature. Christiaan Kramm (1797-1875) owned a book that had been the property of an artist described as Jacob Berents or Berents in his artists lexicon1. A previous owner of the book had noted further details about the artist, who was assumed to have been born in Hamburg in 1679 and trained as a draughtman and miniaturist. Berents had been in the army for a long time before he started teaching engineering, architecture and perspective. It is now assumed he was born earlier since signed drawings by the same artist have been on the market and are dated 1663.
An undated ice scene was in the Klaver collection2, and another was on the market in 2001. All the gouaches are of similar sizes, are all drawn in a similar technique, either on paper or vellum laid on board or panel and all have the decorative border heightened with gold.
1.C. Kraam, De levens en Werken der Hollandsche en Vlaamsche kunstchilders, beeldhouwers, graveurs en bouwmeesters, I, Amsterdam, 1857, pp.90-1
2.M. Schapelhouman, P. Schatborn, Tekeningen van Oude Meesters , De Verzameling Jacobus A. Klaver, exhibition catalogue, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 1993, pp.224-5, no.105 [also Amsterdam, Sothebys, 10 May, 1994, lot 30].
3.Anon. sale, Amsterdam, Christies, 8 November 2000, lot 110. Other similar gouaches have been on the market at Sothebys Mak van Waay, Amsterdam, 30 October 1979, lot 10.