Jacob de Wit

Jacob de Wit

An allegorical representation of Fama

Jacob de Wit was born in Amsterdam in 1695. When he was thirteen, he went to Antwerp, to study at the Academy. He became the pupil of Jacob van Hal and became a member of the guild of St Luke in 1714. While in Antwerp he also produced a series of watercolor sketches of the ceilings decorated by Rubens in the Jesuit Carolus Borromeus Church. As the church was struck by lightning a few years afterwards and the ceilings were lost in the fire, these became important historical documents.

In 1715 de Wit returned to Amsterdam, where he would become much sought after for his decorative paintings on walls, doors and ceilings. Wealthy patrons who lived on the grachten in Amsterdam commissioned decorations from him. As many of them also had country houses, de Wit did a lot of work in neighboring Haarlem and Vecht as well. De Wit was a great illusionistic painter who often worked in grisaille.

De Wit produced many sketches and drawings for his projects; a lot of them are kept in major museum collections today. The present drawing, showing an allegorical representation of Fama (fame) is presumably a study for a decorative wall painting, perhaps as part of a series of allegorical figures. Unfortunately, it has not yet proved possible to link the present drawing to a finished work or a commission. Nevertheless, it is a beautifully executed and very typical work by de Wit and a fine addition to his oeuvre.

Artist: Jacob de Wit (Amsterdam 1695 - 1754)
Medium: ink and wash over chalk on laid paper
Dimensions: 248 x 105 mm
Signed: 'JdWit', bottom left