CM: This engraving by Pietro Antonio Martini is after the painting Christ and the Centurion of Capernaum by Dutch painter Bartholomeus Breenbergh (ca. 1599-1657). The orignal oil on panel (37x51cm) used to belong to M. Poullain and was sold first to Comte de Merle for a high amount at Le Brun sale, Paris, on 14 March 1781, as one of Breenbergh's most precious works. This painting is now in the Staatliche Kunsthalle in Karlsruhe, Germany. Roethlisberger describes this as "a notable work in Breenbergh's evolution as a figure painter", and dated the work to the early 1630s. The subject is taken from Matthew VIII, 5-13 and Luke VII, 1-10, according to which Jesus in Capernaum healed a centurion's servant without even seeing him. Roethlisberger cites a great many influences on Breenbergh in this painting, notably Pieter Lastman in the architectural setting, Nicolaes Moyaert in the subject matter and the 'heritage' of Bril and Poelenburgh. The columns are taken from the Temple of Antoninus and Faustina in the Roman Forum while the open landscape to the left leading to Capernaum displays further classical elements - the arch of the Pantani in the Forum of Augustus, S. Teodoro and the Torre delle Milizie. The obelisk also has origins in paintings by Heemskerk, Lastman and Saenredam and alludes to the Centurion's old pagan faith. Martini's engraving is in reverse of the original, and originates in "Collection de 120 estampes, gravées d'après les tableaux & dessins qui composoient le Cabinet de M. Poullain", published by Chez Basan et Poignant in Paris in 1781, №19.
[Megakles Rogakos 12/2008]
ROETHLISBERGER, MARCEL G. Bartholomeus Breenbergh, The Paintings 1981 De Gruyter, Berlin & New York, №146, il.