A painting that has been on display in Saint-Gilles City Hall in Brussels since the 1960s has been authenticated as a work by the Flemish Baroque painter Jacob Jordaens. According to a report by the Guardian, experts have said that the painting, which depicts baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Saint Anne, is the artist’s oldest known depiction of the Holy Family, dating to the early 17th century.
The work was authenticated by the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage along with international experts, who found that Jordaens created it in 1617 or 1618 when he was 25 years old. They also discovered that the wood paneling in the work came from the same tree Anthony van Dyck used for some paintings.
Art historian Constantin Pion told the Guardian that it is “very likely” that van Dyck and Jordaens worked in Peter Paul Rubens’s studio simultaneously. Pierre Dejemeppe, a cultural heritage expert, told the publication that the painting shows “something of a matrix of what he would do later,” referring to Jordaens’s later iterations of the same subject. After undergoing a restoration, the newly authenticated painting will be exhibited in late 2021 at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium in Brussels.
The Jordaens painting is not the only major authentication of the year. In August, a work in the collection of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, England, long believed to be a fake was authenticated as a product of Rembrandt van Rijn’s workshop. And earlier this year, a self-portrait by Vincent van Gogh held in the collection of the Nasjonalmuseet in Oslo was authenticated by experts at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.