Category: theory

Alexander van Bredael – Merrymaking on the ice – 

Alexander van Bredael (1 April 1663 – 14 July 1720) was a Flemish painter known for Italianate landscapes and genre scenes of fairs, cattle markets and villages. He was a prominent member of the Antwerp artistic family van Bredael.

Alexander van Bredael painted in a wide variety of genres including cattle market scenes, Italianate landscapes and village scenes. He is probably best known for his depiction of festivals and processions set in his native Antwerp. His village scenes are reminiscent of the genre scenes of David Teniers the Younger. He also took his inspiration from other Flemish artists. For instance, his composition A Festival in Antwerp likely drew its inspiration from similar paintings representing processions in cities by Flemish artists such as Pieter van Aelst and Erasmus de Bie.

He painted many scenes of cattle markets, which offered him the opportunity to showcase his skill in depicting group scenes populated with many figures as well as his ability to paint animals. He made various Italianate landscapes often including harbour scenes such as the Harbour Scene with View of a Town.

Alexander van Bredael produced designs for the tapestry workshops in Oudenaarde. In 1698 he is recorded as supplying designs for six tapestries with genre scenes depicting peasants and gypsies. He provided designs for tapestries that are referred to as Teniers scenes or tapestries. This refers to tapestries related to the Flemish genre painters David Teniers the Younger and David Teniers III. Even though it is not possible to connect the tapestries known as Teniers tapestries, which were woven in numerous weaving centers in Flanders, to any specific designs of these genre painters, these tapestries have been called Teniers tapestries since the early 18th century. Correspondences between the merchant Pieter van Verrren and Alexander van Bredael of 1700 make clear Alexander van Bredael designed some Teniers tapestries. A tapestry depicting an eyeglass vendor was sold by Christie’s on 5 February 2003 in New York. It is possible that the landscape in this tapestry was drawn by Pieter Spierinckx, particularly since such a collaboration between Bredael and Spierinckx on Teniers tapestries is mentioned in documents of 1707.

Peter Snyers – A vegetable still life with a red cabbage, together with caulifllower, beetroot and onions in a wicker basket – 

Pieter Snyers or Peter Snijers (first name also written as: ‘Peeter’ and nickname ‘De Heilige’ or ‘The Holy One’) (30 March 1681 – 4 May 1752) was a Flemish art collector, painter, draughtsman and engraver. He practised a wide variety of genres, including portraits, genre painting, still life and landscape painting.

Snyers was a versatile artist who painted in many genres including portraits, genre paintings, landscapes, still lifes, flower pieces, animal paintings, fruit pieces, game pieces, vegetable still lifes and plants. He painted both on large canvases and small copper plates. He was said never to have painted a composition twice.

Snyers painted a series of 12 paintings, each representing a different month of the year. This series is regarded as the masterpiece of the artist and never left his studio during his lifetime. The paintings were dispersed in 1763 when they were auctioned off. Two of the paintings (January and July) are now in the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp and two (April and May) in the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium in Brussels. Another two, those for March and December, were auctioned by Christie’s (New York, 29 January 1998, lot 3). There is a reduced copy of the month of March in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. The paintings in the series are genre paintings which include a representation of each month by its astrological sign. The painting of the month of January in the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp depicts three Epiphany singers with a big star and a few women and children with special cakes, particular to the winter season, together with a man pouring water who symbolises Aquarius, the astrological sign of January. The painting series may, directly or indirectly, have inspired Pieter Casteels III and Jacob van Huysum to produce a series of paintings of the 12 months.

His still lifes include outdoor settings with dead game and forest floors and indoor compositions with a profusion of small objects, fruits, single blossoms, nuts and other objects scattered across a surface.

Snyers was also an engraver. The British Museum holds a charming portrait of a sleeping boy by Snyers.[ He also produced an etched self-portrait (Rijksmuseum Amsterdam)

Peter Snijers – Still Life with Tistle and Nest – 

Pieter Snyers or Peter Snijers (first name also written as: ‘Peeter’ and nickname ‘De Heilige’ or ‘The Holy One’) (30 March 1681 – 4 May 1752) was a Flemish art collector, painter, draughtsman and engraver. He practised a wide variety of genres, including portraits, genre painting, still life and landscape painting.

He entered on 17 August 1741 into an agreement with five other artists to provide free tuition at the directors of the Antwerp Academy. The Academy would eventually replace the Guild of Saint Luke.

The Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp (Dutch: Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten van Antwerpen) is an art academy located in Antwerp, Belgium. It is one of the oldest of its kind in Europe. It was founded in 1663 by David Teniers the Younger, painter to the Archduke Leopold Wilhelm and Don Juan of Austria. Teniers was master of the Guild of St Luke — which embraced arts and some handicrafts — and petitioned Philip IV of Spain, then master of the Spanish Netherlands, to grant a royal charter to establish a Fine Arts Academy in Antwerp. It houses the Antwerp Fashion Academy.

Shortly after the founding of Antwerp Academy, three large paintings were executed for its meeting hall. Antwerp, Nurse of Painters, by Theodoor Boeyermans (1665; 188 x 454 cm), promotes the city’s recent artistic past. Portraits of Peter Paul Rubens and Anthony van Dyck watch over students as they practise the arts. At the centre is the allegorical Antverpia pictorum nutrix (“Antwerp, nurse of painters”). Chronos accompanies other young students who present their artwork. The river god Scaldis, a personification of Antwerp’s river Scheldt, symbolises with his cornucopia the wealth and bounty of the city’s artistic heritage.

The Guild of Saint Luke was the most common name for a city guild for painters and other artists in early modern Europe, especially in the Low Countries. They were named in honor of the Evangelist Luke, the patron saint of artists, who was identified by John of Damascus as having painted the Virgin’s portrait.

One of the most famous such organizations was founded in Antwerp. It continued to function until 1795, although by then it had lost its monopoly and therefore most of its power. In most cities, including Antwerp, the local government had given the Guild the power to regulate defined types of trade within the city. Guild membership, as a master, was therefore required for an artist to take on apprentices or to sell paintings to the public. Similar rules existed in Delft, where only members could sell paintings in the city or have a shop. The early guilds in Antwerp and Bruges, setting a model that would be followed in other cities, even had their own showroom or market stall from which members could sell their paintings directly to the public.

The guild of Saint Luke not only represented painters, sculptors, and other visual artists, but also—especially in the seventeenth century—dealers, amateurs, and even art lovers (the so-called liefhebbers). In the medieval period most members in most places were probably manuscript illuminators, where these were in the same guild as painters on wood and cloth—in many cities they were joined with the scribes or “scriveners”. In traditional guild structures, house-painters and decorators were often in the same guild. However, as artists formed under their own specific guild of St. Luke, particularly in the Netherlands, distinctions were increasingly made. In general, guilds also made judgments on disputes between artists and other artists or their clients. In such ways, it controlled the economic career of an artist working in a specific city, while in different cities they were wholly independent and often competitive against each other.

Pieter Casteels III – Basket of flowers on a table – 

Pieter Casteels III (1684–1749) was a Flemish painter and engraver mainly known for his flower pieces, game pieces and bird scenes. He spent a significant portion of his life in England where he had a varied career as a still life painter, printmaker and textile designer.

Casteels painted flowers, flower pieces, landscapes, bird scenes, game pieces and occasional portraits. He is often confused with Peter Frans Casteels, a still life painter active in Antwerp in the late 17th century. Some of his animal scenes show similarity with the style of Dutch master Melchior d’Hondecoeter and in some cases experts have been unable to determine whether to attribute a particular work to either master. As he spent most of his active career in England, a large portion of his work is in public and private collections in the UK.

When in 1726 Casteels embarked on his first publishing venture, the production of 12 plates of bird scenes, he had not previously made any etchings except for two or three little plates as trials. The birds were depicted against gardens with classical decoration as background settings. The British Museum has a complete set of the original prints in its collection.

It is possible that the direct or indirect inspiration for the series of paintings on the 12 months made by Casteels was a series of the 12 months by the Antwerp painter Pieter Snyers. The 12 paintings by Casteels were engraved by Henry Fletcher and published by Robert Furber, a British horticulturist, under the title the Twelve Months of Flowers in 1730. The prints illustrate seasonal flowers that could be ordered from Furber and are thus the first illustrated nursery catalogue published in England. Each plant is numbered, with a list of the corresponding species names provided. More than 400 different species of plant are featured. For clear identification each flower is depicted facing to the front and is arranged separately.

The plates were originally sold on a subscription basis for £1 5s in uncolored form, or £2 12s 6d for a colored version. The subscribers included members of the aristrocracy. Casteels, Furber and Fletcher had each invested £500 in the publishing venture. As they were able to find 457 subscribers, they each made a handsome profit even before the sale of the prints, the plants or the original paintings. A second edition was published in 1734, which included “The Flower-Garden for Gentlemen and Ladies” not present in the first edition of 1730. The plates of the later edition were engraved by Peter Smith and are reductions of the originals. The book was reprinted in 1982. The complete set of the 12 original paintings, which Casteels made for the series, were sold by Christie’s on 25 May 2005 in New York as lot 1529. The set of paintings and engravings inspired Jacob van Huysum, who had recently moved to London from Amsterdam, to paint his own set of Twelve Months of Flowers (Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge) between 1732–6.

Furber published the Twelve Months of Fruit in 1732. Like the earlier publication on flowers, the Twelve Months of Fruit features 12 full-color plates, this time depicting 364 different fruit. Each plate focuses on one month and shows the varieties of fruit that ripen during that month.

Pieter Casteels III – A family of chickens fending off a spaniel in a landscape – 1728

Pieter Casteels III (1684–1749) was a Flemish painter and engraver mainly known for his flower pieces, game pieces and bird scenes. He spent a significant portion of his life in England where he had a varied career as a still life painter, printmaker and textile designer.

In 1708 he left with his brother-in-law Peter Tillemans to England to work for a picture dealer named Turner for whom they made copies of Old Master paintings. Casteels became an active participant in London’s artistic community, subscribing to the Kneller Academy of Painting and Drawing in 1711 and becoming a member of the Rose and Crown Club.

Sir Godfrey Kneller, 1st Baronet (born Gottfried Kniller; 8 August 1646 – 19 October 1723), was the leading portrait painter in England during the late 17th and early 18th centuries, and was court painter to English and British monarchs from Charles II to George I.

Kneller was born Gottfried Kniller in the Free City of Lübeck, the son of Zacharias Kniller, a portrait painter. Kneller studied in Leiden, but became a pupil of Ferdinand Bol and Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn in Amsterdam. He then travelled with his brother John Zacharias Kneller, who was an ornamental painter, to Rome and Venice in the early 1670s, painting historical subjects and portraits in the studio of Carlo Maratti, and later moved to Hamburg.

The Rose and Crown Club was a club for artists, collectors and connoisseurs of art in early 18th-century London, England.

The Rose and Crown Club “for Eminent Artificers of this Nation” was formed by 1704, when the engraver George Vertue was admitted; while it lasted, the club was among the more important of clubs for artists and connoisseurs. The club was initially “a bawdy assembly of younger artists and cognoscenti, which met weekly” and apparently held its meetings at the Rose and Crown public house. in addition to Vertue, members included Bernard Lens III, Christian Friedrich Zincke, William Hogarth, Peter Tillemans, Marcellus Laroon the Younger and Michael Dahl.

The members of the club were known as the ‘Rosacoronians’. An unfinished Hogarthian painting in the Ashmolean Museum attributed to the Scottish painter Gawen Hamilton (another member), An Assembly of Virtuosi, shows a group of fifteen men, including eight who are identified in an etching of the painting by R. Cooper, published by W. B. Tiffin (1829), and it has been suggested that this is a group portrait of the Rosacoronians. The group includes Hamilton himself, Michael Dahl, John Vanderbank, the architect William Kent, and John Michael Rysbrack the sculptor. Vertue listed the painter and engraver Gerhard Bockman as a member in 1724.

The club was well connected with the older-established Virtuosi of St Luke (c. 1689–1743), with which it is sometimes confused, although it was less prestigious.

The Rose and Crown Club remained in existence until 1745 and held its last meeting at the Half-Moon Tavern. Bignamini notes in his George Vertue that
The meetings and annual feasts of the Virtuosi of St Luke and of the Rose and Crown Club had come to a definitive end in 1745.

Peter Casteels – Domestic cock, hens, and chicks in a park – 1730

Pieter Casteels III (1684–1749) was a Flemish painter and engraver mainly known for his flower pieces, game pieces and bird scenes.[2] He spent a significant portion of his life in England where he had a varied career as a still life painter, printmaker and textile designer.

He returned briefly to Antwerp in 1712 where he became a member of the local Guild of Saint Luke in the same year.

The Guild of Saint Luke was the most common name for a city guild for painters and other artists in early modern Europe, especially in the Low Countries. They were named in honor of the Evangelist Luke, the patron saint of artists, who was identified by John of Damascus as having painted the Virgin’s portrait.

One of the most famous such organizations was founded in Antwerp. It continued to function until 1795, although by then it had lost its monopoly and therefore most of its power. In most cities, including Antwerp, the local government had given the Guild the power to regulate defined types of trade within the city. Guild membership, as a master, was therefore required for an artist to take on apprentices or to sell paintings to the public. Similar rules existed in Delft, where only members could sell paintings in the city or have a shop. The early guilds in Antwerp and Bruges, setting a model that would be followed in other cities, even had their own showroom or market stall from which members could sell their paintings directly to the public.

The guild of Saint Luke not only represented painters, sculptors, and other visual artists, but also—especially in the seventeenth century—dealers, amateurs, and even art lovers (the so-called liefhebbers). In the medieval period most members in most places were probably manuscript illuminators, where these were in the same guild as painters on wood and cloth—in many cities they were joined with the scribes or “scriveners”. In traditional guild structures, house-painters and decorators were often in the same guild. However, as artists formed under their own specific guild of St. Luke, particularly in the Netherlands, distinctions were increasingly made. In general, guilds also made judgments on disputes between artists and other artists or their clients. In such ways, it controlled the economic career of an artist working in a specific city, while in different cities they were wholly independent and often competitive against each other.

Jacob Melchior van Herck – Putti amid garlands of flowers beside a stone urn – 

A putto (Italian: plural putti]) is a figure in a work of art depicted as a chubby male child, usually naked and sometimes winged. Originally limited to profane passions in symbolism, the putto came to represent the sacred cherub (plural cherubim), and in Baroque art the putto came to represent the omnipresence of God. A putto representing a cupid is also called an amorino (plural amorini) or amoretto (plural amoretti).

The more commonly found form putti is the plural of the Italian word putto. The Italian word comes from the Latin word putus, meaning “boy” or “child”. Today, in Italian, putto means either toddler winged angel or, rarely, toddler boy. It may have been derived from the same Indo-European root as the Sanskrit word “putra” (meaning “boy child”, as opposed to “son”), Avestan puθra-, Old Persian puça-, Pahlavi (Middle Persian) pus and pusar, all meaning “son”, and the New Persian pesar “boy, son”.

Putti, in the ancient classical world of art, were winged infants that were believed to influence human lives. In Renaissance art, the form of the putto was derived in various ways including the Greek Eros or Roman Amor/Cupid, the god of love and companion of Aphrodite or Venus; the Roman, genius, a type of guardian spirit; or sometimes the Greek, daemon, a type of messenger spirit, being halfway between the realms of the human and the divine.

Jacob Melchior van Herck or Jacobus Melchior van Herck (active in Antwerp 1691–1735) was a Flemish still life painter active in Antwerp. He is principally known for his flower and fruit still lifes. He collaborated with figure painters in the creation of allegorical and mythological scenes with an important still life element.

Jacob Melchior van Herck – Putti amid garlands of flowers beside a stone fountain and a column – 

Jacob Melchior van Herck or Jacobus Melchior van Herck (active in Antwerp 1691–1735) was a Flemish still life painter active in Antwerp. He is principally known for his flower and fruit still lifes. He collaborated with figure painters in the creation of allegorical and mythological scenes with an important still life element.

Jacob Melchior van Herck was a painter of flower and fruit still lifes. He regularly collaborated with figure painters in the creation of allegorical and mythological scenes, which incorporated important still life elements. His collaborators included François Liberti and possibly, Peter Ykens. Several of these collaborations feature putti in an outdoor setting or allegorical figures. He also collaborated on portraits such as the Portrait of Maria Luisa of Savoy (At Christie’s, 13 December 2002, London, Lot 262). The portrait was likely painted by François Liberti while van Herck took care of the still life elements.

The compositions and motifs of van Herck were closely related to the opulent flower still lifes of his master Gaspar Peeter Verbruggen the Younger. His work is also regularly mixed up with that of his master’s father Gaspar Peeter Verbruggen the Elder.

Gaspar Pieter Verbruggen the Younger – Quince, grapes, cherries and other fruit with roses on a stone ledge – 

Gaspar Peeter Verbruggen or Gasparo Pedro Verbruggen (baptized on 11 April 1664 in Antwerp – buried on 14 March 1730 in Antwerp) was a Flemish still life painter who is principally known for his decorative still lifes with flowers and fruit. He collaborated with figure artists on compositions which combined figures with a still life element. He was active in Antwerp and The Hague.

Verbruggen collaborated with various specialist painters including the figure painters Peter Ykens and Jacob Leyssens in Antwerp and Matheus Terwesten in the Hague. The Antwerp painter Peeter-Frans Bailliu painted the vases, figures and grisailles in some of his compositions. The collaborators on his paintings have not always been identified with certainty. For instance, the collaborator in the painting Margaret Lemon as Erminia who painted the female figure after an original by Anthony van Dyck was believed to be Adriaen Hanneman but that attribution is no longer believed to be accurate.

Verbruggen collaborated on a number of compositions in the genre of ‘garland paintings’. Garland paintings are a type of still life invented in early 17th century Antwerp by Jan Brueghel the Elder and subsequently practised by leading Flemish still life painters, and in particular Daniel Seghers. Paintings in this genre typically show a flower or, less frequently, fruit garland around a devotional image or portrait. In the later development of the genre, the devotional image was replaced by other subjects such as portraits, mythological subjects and allegorical scenes.

Garland paintings were usually collaborations between a still life and a figure painter. Sometimes the still life painter would paint the garland and only much later another painter would add the figures or grisaille in the centre. The centre in some of the garland paintings that have been preserved were never filled by an image. The cartouche in the center of Verbruggen’s garland paintings was usually filled with non-religious imagery such as portraits and mythological scenes. The Flower garland surrounding a vase of flowers (At the Instituut Collectie Nederland) is an example of a garland painting by Verbruggen. It is unusual because the image in the centre of the flower garland is a vase of flowers, rather than a scene with figures or a grisaille. X-ray investigation and archival research have revealed that originally there was a figure of a woman in the centre, which was painted over and replaced by the flower vase in the early 20th century. The painter of the flower vase selected flowers in the original flower garland as the basis for the flower bouquet thus creating a harmony between the garland and the flower bouquet.

Gaspar Peeter Verbruggen (I) – Flower still life in a niche – 1660-5

Gaspar Peeter Verbruggen the Elder (Antwerp, 1635 – Antwerp, 16 April 1681) was a Flemish painter of flowers and garland paintings.

Gaspar Peeter Verbruggen the Elder was known for his flower still lifes and garland paintings. His flower still lifes date from 1654 to 1680.

An important portion of Verbruggen’s output falls into the category of ‘garland paintings’. Garland paintings are a type of still life invented in early 17th century Antwerp by Jan Brueghel the Elder and subsequently practised by leading Flemish still life painters, and in particular Daniel Seghers. Paintings in this genre typically show a flower or, less frequently, fruit garland around a devotional image or portrait. In the later development of the genre, the devotional image is replaced by other subjects such as portraits, mythological subjects and allegorical scenes.

Garland paintings were usually collaborations between a still life and a figure painter. Verbruggen’s collaborators on his garland paintings have not been identified but it is believed they included Peter Ykens and Jacobus Ferdinandus Saey. His collaborators painted the figure or figures inside the cartouche while Verbruggen painted the flower garland.