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Bandits Leading Prisoners

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Jan Both was one of the leading members of the second generation of seventeenth-century Dutch Italianate painters. The bandits in this view of the Italian countryside offer a vivid reminder of the dangers of seventeenth-century travel.


Lower left on rock: JBoth. f. (J and B joined)


About 1646, Clifford family, Amsterdam (original commission); November 10, 1762, Clifford and others sale, Hendrik de Leth, Amsterdam, lot 17, sold for 899 florins to Pierre Fouquet, Jr. (b. 1729 - d. 1800) with or for John Greenwood (b. 1727 - d. 1792) on behalf of Sir Lawrence Dundas (b. about 1710 - d. 1781), 1st Bt., Moor Park and London [see note 1]; May 31, 1794, posthumous Dundas sale, Greenwood, London, lot 34, sold for £504 to Thomas Dundas (b. 1741 - d. 1820), 1st Baron Dundas; until 1934, by descent within the family to the Marquess of Zetland, London [see note 2]; April 27, 1934, Marquess of Zetland sale, Christie's, London, lot 113, to Colnaghi, London and New York (stock no. A1808); 1934, sold by Colnaghi to the MFA for $1006. (Accession Date: October 4, 1934) NOTES: [1] See Denys Sutton, "The Dundas Pictures," Apollo, September 1967, pp. 207 and 211. John Greenwood wrote to Dundas in October, 1762, sending him a copy of the auction catalogue and recommending that he purchase the painting by Both. In 1763, he sent Sir Dundas an invoice for the Both and other paintings. According to the 1794 Dundas sale catalogue, the painting "was purchased from the Clifford family of Amsterdam, for whom it was painted." [2] Thomas Dundas, who bought back the picture at the 1794 posthumous sale of his father, had a son also named Lawrence Dundas (b. 1766 - d. 1839). The latter was created the 1st Earl of Zetland in 1838. His own grandson, again named Lawrence Dundas (b. 1844 - d. 1929), was the 1st Marquess of Zetland.

Credit Line

Seth K. Sweetser Fund

about 1646


165.4 x 217.5 cm (65 1/8 x 85 5/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Oil on canvas