Continental School, 17th/18th Century
Saints Cosmas and Damian
Unsigned, inscribed "Van H..." on the reverse.
Oil on canvas, 20 3/4 x 24 3/4 in. (52.5 x 63.0 cm), framed.
Condition: Lined, probable retouch, fine craquelure, heavily varnished.
Provenance: Nagel Auction, Stuttgart, Germany, December 5, 2002, Lot 629, as Attributed to Gérard Seghers; Kaminski Auctions, Beverly, Massachusetts, December Evening Estates Auction, December 28, 2009, Lot 4116, as Attributed to Gérard Seghers; through to the current private New England collection.
N.B. The painting at hand has previously been attributed to Gérard Seghers (Flemish, 1591-1651). Current scholarship suggests this work to be by the hand of an unidentified artist after an earlier Flemish or perhaps French or Spanish composition.
Saints Cosmas and Damian, shown here ministering to an ailing man, are regarded as the patrons of physicians, surgeons, and pharmacists, and are sometimes represented with medical emblems. According to Christian traditions, the twin brothers were born in Arabia and became skilled doctors. They are credited with developing an electuary used to treat diverse maladies including paralysis. They suffered martyrdom in Syria during the persecution of the Emperor Diocletian.
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