Flemish Baroque painting

Flemish Baroque painting refers to the art produced in the Southern Netherlands during Spanish control in the 16th and 17th centuries. The period roughly begins when the Dutch Republic was split from the Habsburg Spain regions to the south with the Spanish recapturing of Antwerp in 1585 and goes until about 1700, when Habsburg authority ended with the death of King Charles II.[1] Antwerp, home to the prominent artists Peter Paul Rubens, Anthony van Dyck, and Jacob Jordaens, was the artistic nexus, while other notable cities include Brussels and Ghent.[1]

Rubens, in particular, had a strong influence on seventeenth-century visual culture. His innovations helped define Antwerp as one of Europe's major artistic cities, especially for Counter Reformation imagery, and his student Van Dyck was instrumental in establishing new directions in English portraiture. Other developments in Flemish Baroque painting are similar to those found in Dutch Golden Age painting,[1] with artists specializing in such areas as history painting, portraiture, genre painting, landscape painting, and still life.

History of Dutch and Flemish painting
Early Netherlandish  (1400–1523)
Renaissance painting  (1520–1580)
Northern Mannerism  (1580–1615)
Dutch "Golden Age" painting  (1615–1702)
Flemish Baroque painting  (1608–1700)
List of Dutch painters
List of Flemish painters
Peter Paul Rubens - De kruisoprichting
Peter Paul Rubens, The Raising of the Cross, c. 1610–1611

General characteristics

"Flemish", in the context of this and artistic periods such as the "Flemish Primitives" (in English now Early Netherlandish painting), often includes the regions not associated with modern Flanders, including the Duchy of Brabant and the autonomous Prince-Bishopric of Liège.[1] By the seventeenth century, however, Antwerp was the main city for innovative artistic production, largely due to the presence of Rubens. Brussels was important as the location of the court, attracting David Teniers the Younger later in the century.

Frans Hogenberg Bildersturm 1566
Frans Hogenberg, The Calvinist Iconoclastic Riot of August 20, 1566 when many paintings and church decorations were destroyed and subsequently replaced by late Northern Mannerist and Baroque artists.

Late Mannerism

Although paintings produced at the end of the 16th century belong to general Northern Mannerist and Late Renaissance approaches that were common throughout Europe, artists such as Otto van Veen, Adam van Noort, Marten de Vos, and the Francken family were particularly instrumental in setting the stage for the local Baroque. Between 1585 and the early 17th century they made many new altarpieces to replace those destroyed during the iconoclastic outbreaks of 1566. Also during this time Frans Francken the Younger and Jan Brueghel the Elder became important for their small cabinet paintings, often depicting mythological and history subjects.

"The Age of Rubens"

Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640), a student of both Otto van Veen and Adam van Noort, spent eight years in Italy (1600–1608), during which time he studied examples of classical antiquity, the Italian Renaissance, and contemporaries Adam Elsheimer and Caravaggio. Following his return to Antwerp he set up an important studio, training students such as Anthony van Dyck, and generally exerting a strong influence on the direction of Flemish art. Most artists active in the city during the first half of the 17th century were directly influenced by Rubens.

Rubens - Prometheus Bound
Peter Paul Rubens and Frans Snyders, Prometheus Bound, 1611-12. Philadelphia Museum of Art. This painting is Flemish Baroque example of collaboration and specialization. Snyders, who specialized in animals, painted the eagle while Rubens painted the figure of Prometheus.

Specializations and collaborations

Flemish art is notable for the large amount of collaboration that took place between independent masters, which was partly related to the local tendency to specialize in a particular area. Frans Snyders, for example, was an animal painter and Jan Brueghel the Elder was admired for his landscapes and paintings of plants. Both artists worked with Rubens, who often usually painted the figures, and other artists to create collaborative pieces.

Frans Francken (II), Kunst- und Raritätenkammer (1636)
Frans Francken the Younger, Preziosenwand (Wall of Treasures), 1636. Kunsthistorischesmuseum, Vienna. This type of painting was one of the distinctly Flemish innovations that developed during the early 17th century.


Flower still life painting, which developed around 1600 by artists such as Jan Brueghel the Elder, was partially a Flemish innovation,[2] echoed in the Dutch Republic in the works of the Antwerp-born Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder (1573–1621).[3] In Antwerp, however, this new genre also developed into a specifically Catholic type of painting, the flower garland. Other types of paintings closely associated with Flemish Baroque include the monumental hunting scenes by Rubens and Snyders, and gallery paintings by artists such as Willem van Haecht and David Teniers the Younger.

History painting

History painting, which includes biblical, mythological and historical subjects, was considered by seventeenth-century theoreticians as the most noble art. Abraham Janssens was an important history painter in Antwerp between 1600 and 1620, although after 1609 Rubens was the leading figure. Both Van Dyck and Jacob Jordaens were active painting monumental history scenes. Following Rubens's death, Jordaens became the most important Flemish painter. Other notable artists working in the idiom of Rubens include Gaspar de Crayer, who was active in Brussels, Artus Wolffort, Cornelis de Vos, Jan Cossiers, Theodoor van Thulden, Abraham van Diepenbeeck, and Jan Boeckhorst. During the second half of the century, history painters combined a local influence from Rubens with knowledge of classicism and Italian Baroque qualities. Artists in the vein include Erasmus Quellinus the Younger, Jan van den Hoecke, Pieter van Lint, Cornelis Schut, and Thomas Willeboirts Bosschaert. Later in the century, many painters turned to Anthony van Dyck as a major influence.[4] Among them were Pieter Thijs, Lucas Franchoys the Younger, and artists who were also inspired by Late Baroque theatricality such as Theodoor Boeyermans and Jan-Erasmus Quellinus. Additionally, a Flemish variant of Caravaggism was expressed by Theodoor Rombouts and Gerard Seghers.

Religious painting

Rubens is closely associated with the development of the Baroque altarpiece. Painted for the Arquebusiers' guild, the Descent from the Cross triptych (1611–14; Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp)—with side wings depicting the Visitation and Presentation in the Temple, and exterior panels showing St. Christopher and the Hermit—is an important reflection of Counter-Reformation ideas about art combined with Baroque naturalism, dynamism and monumentality.[5] Roger de Piles explains that "the painter has entered so fully into the expression of his subject that the sight of this work has the power to touch a hardened soul and cause it to experience the sufferings endured by Jesus Christ in order to redeem it."[6]

Charles I of England
Anthony van Dyck, Portrait of King Charles I, 1635. Louvre, Paris.


Although not predominately a portrait painter, Rubens's contributions include early works such as his Portrait of Brigida Spinola-Doria (1606, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.), paintings of his wives (the Honeysuckle Bower and Het Pelsken), and numerous portraits of friends and nobility. He also exerted a strong influence on Baroque portraiture through his student Anthony van Dyck. Van Dyck became court painter for Charles I of England and was influential on subsequent English portraiture. Other successful portraitists include Cornelis de Vos and Jacob Jordaens. Although most Flemish portraiture is life-sized or monumental, Gonzales Coques and Gillis van Tilborch specialized in small-scale group portraiture.

Adriaen Brouwer - The Bitter Potion - Google Art Project
Adriaen Brouwer, The Bitter Drink, c. 1630–1640. Brouwer's expressive peasants are typical of "low-life" genre painting.

Genre painting

Genre paintings, or scenes of everyday life, are common in the 17th century. Many artists follow the tradition of Pieter Bruegel the Elder in depicting "low-life" peasant themes, although elegant "high-life" subjects featuring fashionably-dressed couples at balls or in gardens of love are also common. Adriaen Brouwer, whose small paintings often show peasants fighting and drinking, was particularly influential on subsequent artists. Images of woman performing household tasks, popularized in the northern Netherlands by Pieter de Hooch and Jan Vermeer, is not a significant subject in the south, although artists such as Jan Siberechts explored these themes to some degree.

Bruegel tradition

Flemish genre painting is strongly tied to the traditions of Pieter Bruegel the Elder and was a style that continued directly into the 17th century through copies and new compositions made by his sons Pieter Brueghel the Younger and Jan Brueghel the Elder. Many of these are kermis paintings and scenes of peasants taking part in other outdoor enjoyments viewed from an elevated viewpoint. Artists in the Dutch Republic, such as the Flemish-born David Vinckboons and Roelandt Savery, also made similar works, popularizing rustic scenes of everyday life closely associated with Dutch and Flemish painting.

Adriaen Brouwer and his followers

Adriaen Brouwer (1605 or 1606–1638) typically painted small scenes of ragged peasants fighting, gaming, drinking and generally expressing exaggerated and rude behaviour. Born in the Southern Netherlands, Brouwer spent the 1620s in Amsterdam and Haarlem, where he came under the influence of Frans and Dirk Hals and other artists working in a loose painterly manner. Upon his return to Antwerp around 1631 or 1632 he introduced a new, influential format in which the subjects were painted as interior, instead of exterior, scenes. He also painted expressive facial studies like The Bitter Drink (illustrated), a genre called tronies ("faces"). Brouwer's art was recognized in his own lifetime and had a powerful impact on Flemish art. Rubens owned more works by him at the time of his death than any other painter, and artists such as David Teniers the Younger, Jan van de Venne, Joos van Craesbeeck and David Ryckaert III continued to work in a similar manner.

Elegant company scenes

Paintings of elegant couples in the latest fashions, often with underlying themes of love or the five senses, were commonly painted by Hieronymus Francken the Younger, Louis de Caullery, Simon de Vos, David Teniers the Younger and David Ryckaert III. Rubens's Garden of Love (c. 1634–5; Prado Museum) belongs to these traditions.

Monumental genre scenes

Whereas elegant company scenes and works by Brouwer and his followers were often small in scale, other artists looked to Caravaggio for inspiration and painted large-scale, theatrically inspired scenes in which musicians, cardplayers, and fortune tellers are pushed to the foreground of the composition. These paintings, like others by Caravaggisti, are generally illuminated by strong lighting effects. Adam de Coster, Gerard Seghers and Theodoor Rombouts were the main exponents of this popular style in the early 17th century, which was popularized by Italian followers of Caravaggio like Bartolomeo Manfredi and Utrecht Caravaggisti like Gerrit van Honthorst. Rombouts was also influenced by his teacher Abraham Janssens, who began incorporating Caravaggesque influences into his history paintings from first decade of the 17th century .

Jakob Jordaens 001
Jacob Jordaens, The King Drinks. Jordeans was well known for his large paintings of moralistic genre scenes, such as this depiction of an Epiphany feast.

Jacob Jordaens

Jacob Jordaens, who became Antwerp's most important artist after Rubens's death in 1640, is well known for his monumental genre paintings of subjects such as The King Drinks and As the Old Sing, So Pipe the Young. Many of these paintings use compositional and lighting influences similar to those of the Caravaggisti, while the treatment of the subjects inspired Dutch artists like Jan Steen.

Battle scenes

Another popular type of painting invented in the Low Countries was landscapes with historical and fictional battles, as well as skirmishes and robberies. Sebastiaen Vrancx and his pupil Peter Snayers specialized in this genre, and Snayer's student Adam-Frans van der Meulen continued painting them in Antwerp, Brussels and Paris until the end of the century.

Sweerts, Michael -1649- - Wrestling Match
Michael Sweerts, Wrestling Match, 1649. Karlsruhe, Staatliche Kunsthalle. Sweerts's style is influenced by his time in Rome, and in this painting he combines a genre subject with classical poses and Italian coloring


Following a time-honoured tradition, many northern artists travelled to Italy in the 17th century. Flemish artists such as Jan Miel (1599–1664), Michael Sweerts (1618–1664), Anton Goubau (1616–1698) and Willem Reuter (c.1642–1681) went to Rome where they worked for a period of time. Here they were influenced by the works of the genre painters active in Rome referred to as the Bamboccianti. The Bamboccianti comprised mostly Dutch and Flemish artists who had brought existing traditions of depicting peasant subjects from sixteenth-century Netherlandish art with them to Italy,[7] and generally created small cabinet paintings or etchings of the everyday life of the lower classes in Rome and its countryside.[8] The Dutch painter Pieter van Laer who was nicknamed "Il Bamboccio" (meaning "ugly doll" or "puppet" in Italian) had started this type of genre painting in Rome. In general, genre painting was not well-accepted in Italy, especially by official organizations such as the Academy of St. Luke. Many of the painters were alsom members of the Bentvueghels, the society of mainly Flemish and Dutch artists working in Rome. It acted as a support network for Netherlandish artists in Rome who were in need but is better known for the "bohemian" lifestyle of its members and drunken festivities.[9]

Landscape and seascape

Early landscape painting

Gillis van Coninxloo was an innovative landscape painter in Antwerp in the late 16th century, who introduced a more natural view instead of the traditional world landscape popularized by earlier painters such as Joachim Patiner. He left a strong influence on northern landscape painting in general through his period in Amsterdam and as a founding member of the Frankenthal School. Forest and mountain landscapes were painted by Abraham Govaerts, Alexander Keirincx, Gijsbrecht Leytens, Tobias Verhaecht and Joos de Momper. Paul Bril settled in Rome, where he specialized as a landscape painter decorating Roman villas and creating small cabinet paintings.

Peter Paul Rubens - A View of Het Steen in the Early Morning
Peter Paul Rubens, Landscape with view of 'Het Steen', 1636.

Rubens and later painters

Jan Wildens and Lucas van Uden painted natural landscapes inspired by Rubens, and frequently collaborated with figure painters or animal specialists to paint the backgrounds. Rubens turned to landscape painting in the 1630s, focusing on the area around his chateau, Het Steen. A well-known example is the Landscape with a view of 'Het Steen' (National Gallery of London).

Marine painting

Small seascapes (zeekens) were another popular theme. Artists such as Bonaventura Peeters painted shipwrecks and atmospheric views of ships at sea, as well as imaginary views of exotic ports. Hendrik van Minderhout, who was from Rotterdam and settled in Antwerp, continued this latter theme contemporaneous with developments of marine painting in the Dutch Republic.

Architectural painting

Interior architectural views, usually of churches, developed out of the late sixteenth-century works of Hans Vredeman de Vries. Many were actual locations. Pieter Neeffs I, for example, made numerous interiors of the Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp. Hendrik van Steenwijk II, on the other hand, followed Vredeman's precedent in painting imaginary interiors. The genre continued in the later seventeenth century by Anton Ghering and Wilhelm Schubert van Ehrenberg, but the Flemish examples do not demonstrate the same level of innovation found in the Dutch perspectives of Pieter Jansz Saenredam or Emanuel de Witte.[10]

DAVID TENIERS EL JOVEN - El Archiduque Leopoldo Guillermo en su Galería de Bruselas (Kunsthistorisches Museum de Viena, 1650-52. Óleo sobre lienzo, 123 x 163 cm)
David Teniers the Younger, The Archduke Leopold Wilhelm in his gallery in Brussels. Teniers documented the archduke's collection of paintings in this work while he was court painter in Brussels.

Gallery and art collection painting

Gallery paintings appeared in Antwerp around 1610, and developed—like architectural interiors—from the compositions of Hans Vredeman de Vries.[11] One of the earliest innovators of this new genre was Frans Francken the Younger, who introduced the type of work known as the Preziosenwand (wall of treasures). In these, prints, paintings, sculptures, drawings, as well as collectable objects from the natural world like shells and flowers are collected together in the foreground against a wall that imitates encyclopedic cabinets of curiosities. A similar variation of these collections of artistic wealth are the series of the five senses created by Jan Brueghel the Elder and Rubens (Prado Museum, Madrid). Willem van Haecht (1593–1637) developed another variation in which illustrations of actual artworks are displayed in a fantasy art gallery, while connoisseurs and art lovers admire them. Later in the century, David Teniers the Younger, working in the capacity of court painter to Archduke Leopold Wilhelm of Austria, documented the archduke's collection of Italian paintings in Brussels as gallery painters as well as in a printed catalogue–the Theatrum Pictorium. Flemish Gallery and art collection paintings have been interpreted as a kind of visual theory of art.[12] Such paintings continued to be made in Antwerp by Gerard Thomas (1663–1721) and Balthasar van den Bossche (1681–1715), and foreshadow the development of the veduta in Italy and the galleries of Giovanni Paolo Pannini.

Jan Brueghel the Elder - Flowers in a Wooden Vessel - Google Art Project
Jan Brueghel the Elder, Flower Still Life, 1606/7. Brueghel was an innovator of the flower still life genre.

Still life and animal painting

Flower painting

Jan Brueghel the Elder was one of the important innovators of the floral still life around 1600.[2] These paintings, which presented immaculately observed arrangements and compositions, were imaginary creations of flowers that bloom at different times of the years.[2] They were popular with leading patrons and nobility across Europe, and generally have an underlying Vanitas motif. The compositions of Brueghel's paintings were also influential on later Dutch flower pieces.[13] Brueghel's sons Jan Brueghel the Younger and Ambrosius Brueghel were also flower specialists. Osias Beert (1580–1624) was another flower painter at the beginning of the 17th century. His paintings share many similarities with northern contemporaries such as Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder.[13]

Garland painting

Closely related to the flower still life is the flower garland genre of painting that was invented by Jan Brueghel in collaboration with cardinal Federico Borromeo in Milan.[14] The early versions of these paintings, such as the collaboration by Breughel and Rubens in Munich (Alte Pinakothek, Munich) show the Virgin Mary and Christ child surrounded by a garland of flowers. They have been interpreted as distinctly Counter Reformation images, with the flowers emphasizing the delicacy of the Virgin and Child–images of which were destroyed in large numbers during the iconoclastic outbreaks of 1566.[15] Brueghel's student, the Jesuit painter Daniel Seghers, also painted many of these types of works for an international clientele.[16] In later versions, the fleshy Madonna and Child gave way to sculptural niches and even pagan themes.

Osias Beert - Oysters 1610
Osias Beert, Still life with oysters, c. 1610. Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart. Beert's still lifes are typical of the "breakfast" type painted early in the 17th century.

Breakfast and banquet still life

The ontbijtje, or "little breakfast", is a type of still life that was popular in both the northern and southern Netherlands showing a variety of eating and drinking vessels and foods such as cheese and bread against a neutral background. Osias Beert, Clara Peeters, Cornelis Mahu and Jacob Foppens van Es (c. 1596–1666) were all artists who made these types of painting. More elaborate are the pronk, or "sumptuous", still life. This style developed in the Dutch Republic, and was brought to Antwerp by Jan Davidsz de Heem. They show, on a larger scale than earlier works, complex compositions of expensive items, rare foods, and fleshy, peeling fruit. These paintings are related to vanitas and transience motifs.

Frans SNYDERS, The Pantry
Frans Snyders, The Pantry, c. 1620.

Animal still life

Frans Snyders (1579–1657) painted large still lifes focusing on dead game and animals. His compositions, along with those of his follower Adriaen van Utrecht (1599–1652). look back to the sixteenth-century paintings of Pieter Aertsen and Joachim Beuckelaer, but instill that tradition with a High Baroque monumentality.[17] Subsequent artists, Jan Fyt and Pieter Boel further elaborated on this type by including a noticeable mixture of living animals and dead game. These latter paintings are closely related to images of the hunt, which came into fashion in Flemish painting during the 17th century.

Peter Paul Rubens 110
Peter Paul Rubens, The Tiger, Leopard and Lion Hunt, c. 1617–1618. Musée des Beaux Arts, Rennes. This painting is typical of Rubens's "exotic" hunts painted between about 1615 and 1625.

Hunting scenes

Rubens introduced the monumental hunt to Flemish art, depicting on a large scale a close battle inspired by his study of classical antiquity and Leonardo da Vinci's Battle of Anghiari. These works show both noble hunts, such as the Wolf and Fox Hunt (Metropolitan Museum of Art), and exotic hunts, such as the Lion Hunt (Alte Pinakothek, Munich). Frans Snyders and Paul de Vos created similarly large paintings which are distinct from Rubens's works in their focus on the animals and absence of human participation.

Cabinet painting

Small, intricate paintings, usually depicting history and biblical subjects, were produced in great numbers in the Southern Netherlands throughout the 17th century. Many were created by anonymous artists, however artists such as Jan Brueghel the Elder, Hendrik van Balen, Frans Francken the Younger and Hendrik de Clerck were all successful cabinet painters during the first half of the 17th century. These artists, as well as followers of Adam Elsheimer like David Teniers the Elder, remained partly shaped by continued mannerist stylistic tendencies. However, Rubens influenced a number of later artists who incorporated his Baroque style into the small context of these works. Among them are Frans Wouters, Jan Thomas van Ieperen, Simon de Vos, Pieter van Lint, and Willem van Herp. These small paintings were traded widely throughout Europe, and by way of Spain to Latin America.[18]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Vleighe, p. 1.
  2. ^ a b c Vlieghe, pp. 207–212.
  3. ^ Slive, p. 279.
  4. ^ Vlieghe, pp. 98–104.
  5. ^ Belkin, pp. 113–121.
  6. ^ Martin, Baroque, pp. 20–21.
  7. ^ Levine, David A. (December 1988). "The Roman Limekilns of the Bamboccianti". The Art Bulletin. College Art Association. 70 (4), p. 570
  8. ^ Haskell, Francis (1993). "Chapter 8". Patrons and Painters: Art and Society in Baroque Italy. Yale University Press, pp. 132–134.
  9. ^ Levine, David A., "The Bentvueghels: 'Bande Académique"," in IL60: Essays Honoring Irving Lavin on his Sixtieth Birthday, ed. Marilyn Aronberg Lavin. New York: Italica Press, 1990, p. 216
  10. ^ Vlieghe, pp. 200–202.
  11. ^ Vlieghe, p. 202.
  12. ^ Vlieghe, pp. 202–206.
  13. ^ a b Vlieghe, p. 208.
  14. ^ David Freedberg, "The Origins and Rise of the Flemish Madonnas in Flower Garlands, Decoration and Devotion", Münchener Jahrbuch der bildenden Kunst, xxxii, 1981, pp. 115–150.
  15. ^ Freedberg (1981), op. cit.
  16. ^ Vlieghe, p. 209.
  17. ^ Vlieghe, pp. 211–216.
  18. ^ Vlieghe, pp. 105–114.


  • Belkin, Kristin Lohse (1998). Rubens. London: Phaidon Press. ISBN 0-7148-3412-2
  • Martin, J. R. (1977). Baroque. New York: Harper & Row. ISBN 0-06-435332-X
  • Slive, S. (1995). Dutch painting 1600-1800. Yale University Press Pelican history of art. New Haven, Conn: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-06418-7
  • Sutton, P. C., & Wieseman, M. E. (1993). The Age of Rubens. Boston: Museum of Fine Arts in association with Ghent. ISBN 0-8109-1935-4
  • Vlieghe, Hans (1998). Flemish Art and Architecture, 1585-1700. Yale University Press Pelican history of art. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-07038-1
1585 in art

The year 1585 in art involved some significant events and new works.

Art of Belgium

Despite its size, Belgium has a long and distinguished artistic tradition that goes back to the Middle Ages, considerably pre-dating the foundation of the current state in 1830. Art from the areas making up modern Belgium is called in English Netherlandish up to the separation with the Netherlands from 1570 on, and Flemish until the 18th century.

Important monasteries in Belgium were centres of production in Carolingian art and Ottonian art, and later the area producing Romanesque Mosan art is now largely in Belgium. Flanders became one of the richest areas in Europe in the later Middle Ages and Early Netherlandish painting produced work for both the wealthy townspeople as well as the courtiers of the Duke of Burgundy.

In the Renaissance Antwerp Mannerism was an early attempt by Flemish artists to respond to Italian Renaissance art, with Romanism a later phase. Dutch and Flemish Renaissance painting culminated in the work of Pieter Bruegel the Elder in one direction, and the Flemish contribution to Northern Mannerism in a very different one. Flemish Baroque painting is dominated by the figure of Rubens, though like his pupil Anthony van Dyck, he spent much of his career abroad. There was also a great development of specialized genres in painting, paralleling those in Dutch Golden Age painting to the north, but with many differences.

Art of the Low Countries

The art of the Low Countries consists of painting, sculpture, architecture, printmaking, pottery and other forms of visual art produced in the Low Countries, and since the 19th century in Belgium in the southern Netherlands and the Netherlands in the north.

From the late Middle Ages until about 1700 the Low Countries were a leading force in the art of northern Europe, thereafter becoming less important. In the earlier High Middle Ages Mosan art, from an area partly in the Low Countries, had had a similar role.

The art of the Low Countries includes the traditions of Early Netherlandish painting and the Renaissance in the Low Countries, before the political separation of the region. After the separation, a protracted process lasting between 1568 and 1648, Dutch Golden Age painting in the north and Flemish Baroque painting, especially the art of Peter Paul Rubens, were the cornerstones of art.

Clara Peeters

Clara Peeters (fl. 1607–1621) was a still-life painter who came from Antwerp and trained in the tradition of Flemish Baroque painting, but probably made her career mostly in the new Dutch Republic, as part of Dutch Golden Age painting. Many aspects of her life and work remain very unclear, especially outside the period 1607 to 1621 from which period dated paintings are known. As Seymour Slive puts it "Not a single uncontested document has surfaced about her life but there is reason to believe she was active in both Flanders and Holland."

She was unusual for her time in being a female painter, and is the earliest significant woman painter of the Dutch Golden Age; if regarded as a Flemish painter, she was the most famous Flemish woman of the 17th century. Most female Dutch painters also specialized in still lifes, which did not require knowledge of anatomy, among other advantages for women. Unlike Maria van Oosterwyck and Rachel Ruysch, who specialized in flower painting, Peeters painted mostly subjects including food, and was prominent among the artists who shaped the traditions of the Dutch ontbijtjes, "breakfast pieces" with plain food and simple vessels, and banketje, "banquet pieces" with expensive cups and vessels in precious metals. More than any other artist, her works often include careful depictions of different types of cheese.

Dutch School (painting)

The Dutch School were painters in the Netherlands from the early Renaissance to the Baroque. It includes Early Netherlandish (1400–1500) and Dutch Renaissance (1500–1584) artists active in the northern Low Countries and, later, Dutch Golden Age painting in the United Provinces.

Many painters, sculptors and architects of the seventeenth century are called "Dutch masters", while earlier artists are generally referred to as part of the "Netherlandish" tradition. Hieronymus Bosch and Geertgen tot Sint Jans are well-known examples of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Dutch painters. Rembrandt van Rijn, Frans Hals, Johannes Vermeer, Jacob van Ruisdael and Jan Steen exemplify art during the seventeenth century. An individual work's being labelled or catalogued as "Dutch School" without further attribution indicates that an individual artist for the work cannot be ascertained.

There was a healthy artistic climate in Dutch cities during the seventeenth century. For example, between 1605 and 1635 over 100,000 paintings were produced in Haarlem. At that time art ownership in the city was 25%, a record high. Not all of these have survived, but more art has survived up to today from that period in Haarlem than from any other Dutch city, thanks mostly to the Schilder-boeck published by Karel van Mander there in 1604.

Dutch art

Dutch art describes the history of visual arts in the Netherlands, after the United Provinces separated from Flanders. Earlier painting in the area is covered in Early Netherlandish painting and Dutch and Flemish Renaissance painting.

The history of Dutch art is dominated by the Dutch Golden Age painting, mostly of about 1620 to 1680, when a very distinct style and new types of painting were developed, though still keeping close links with Flemish Baroque painting. After the end of the Golden Age, production of paintings remained high, but ceased to influence the rest of Europe as strongly.

The Hague School of the 19th century re-interpreted the range of subjects of the Golden Age in contemporary terms, and made Dutch painting once again a European leader. In the successive movements of art since the 19th century, the Dutch contribution has been best known from the work of the individual figures of Vincent van Gogh and Piet Mondrian, though both did their best work outside the Netherlands, and took some time to be appreciated. Amsterdam Impressionism had a mainly local impact, but the De Stijl movement, of which Mondrian was a member, was influential abroad.

Flemish painting

Flemish painting flourished from the early 15th century until the 17th century, gradually becoming distinct from the painting of the rest of the Low Countries, especially the modern Netherlands. In the early period, up to about 1520, the painting of the whole area is (especially in the Anglophone world) typically considered as a whole, as Early Netherlandish painting. This was dominated by the Flemish south, but painters from the north were also important. Dutch and Flemish Renaissance painting, of which Antwerp became the centre, covers the period up to about 1580 or later, by the end of which the north and south Netherlands had become politically separated. Flemish Baroque painting was especially important in the first half of the 17th century, dominated by Rubens.

In theory the term does not refer to modern Flanders but to the County of Flanders and neighbouring areas of the Low Countries such as the Tournaisis and Duchy of Brabant. However this distinction, well understood in modern Belgium, has always been disregarded by most foreign observers and writers. Flanders delivered the leading painters in Northern Europe and attracted many promising young painters from other countries. These painters were invited to work at foreign courts and had a Europe-wide influence. Since the end of the Napoleonic era, Flemish painters have again been contributing to a reputation that had been set by the Old Masters.The Franco-Flemish School of musical composition flourished beginning at about the same time.

Genre art

Genre art is the pictorial representation in any of various media of scenes or events from everyday life, such as markets, domestic settings, interiors, parties, inn scenes, and street scenes. Such representations (also called genre works, genre scenes, or genre views) may be realistic, imagined, or romanticized by the artist. Some variations of the term genre art specify the medium or type of visual work, as in genre painting, genre prints, genre photographs, and so on.

Rather confusingly, the normal meaning of genre, covering any particular combination of an artistic medium and a type of subject matter (as, for example, in the romance novel), is also used in the visual arts. Thus, genre works, especially when referring to the painting of the Dutch Golden Age and Flemish Baroque painting—the great periods of genre works—may also be used as an umbrella term for painting in various specialized categories such as still-life, marine painting, architectural painting and animal painting, as well as genre scenes proper where the emphasis is on human figures. Painting was divided into a hierarchy of genres, with history painting at the top, as the most difficult and therefore prestigious, and still life and architectural painting at the bottom. But history paintings are a genre in painting, not genre works.

The following concentrates on painting, but genre motifs were also extremely popular in many forms of the decorative arts, especially from the Rococo of the early 18th century onwards. Single figures or small groups decorated a huge variety of objects such as porcelain, furniture, wallpaper and textiles.

Hendrik van Steenwijk I

Hendrik van Steenwijck I (also Steenwyck, Steenwijk) (c. 1550 – buried 1 September 1603) was a Dutch painter.

Van Steenwijck was born in Kampen, and was a student of the architectural painter Hans Vredeman de Vries, and the father of Hendrik van Steenwijk II He is known to have worked in Aachen (1573-6), Antwerp (1577–85) and Frankfurt (from 1586 on), where he died.Van Steenwijck is the earliest-known painter of architectural interiors, a genre that was popular in Dutch Golden Age and Flemish Baroque painting. In addition to introducing the new genre, he also worked with more natural lighting and perspectival space than found in the works of his teacher Vredeman de Vries.

Jan Davidsz. de Heem

Jan Davidsz. de Heem or in-full Jan Davidszoon de Heem, also called Johannes de Heem or Johannes van Antwerpen or Jan Davidsz de Hem (c. 17 April 1606 in Utrecht – before 26 April 1684 in Antwerp), was a still life painter who was active in Utrecht and Antwerp. He is a major representative of that genre in both Dutch and Flemish Baroque painting.

Jean LeClerc (painter)

Jean LeClerc (1587/88 – buried 20 October 1633) was a 17th-century painter from the Duchy of Lorraine. His style was Baroque, or more specifically "tenebrist". Only six authenticated paintings remain of Leclerc’s work, but numerous etchings and engravings have survived.

Leclerc was born and died at Nancy. He studied with the Venetian master Carlo Saraceni. Le Clerc is known for his mastery of nocturnal light effects, and the luminosity of his scenes.

Marco Antonio Bassetti

Marco Antonio Bassetti (1586–1630) was an Italian painter.

Maria Thins

Maria Thins (c. 1593 – 27 December 1680) was the mother-in-law of Johannes Vermeer and a member of the Gouda Thins family.

Old Master

In art history, "Old Master" (or "old master") refers to any painter of skill who worked in Europe before about 1800, or a painting by such an artist. An "old master print" is an original print (for example an engraving or etching) made by an artist in the same period. The term "old master drawing" is used in the same way.

In theory, "Old Master" applies only to artists who were fully trained, were Masters of their local artists' guild, and worked independently, but in practice, paintings produced by pupils or workshops are often included in the scope of the term. Therefore, beyond a certain level of competence, date rather than quality is the criterion for using the term.

Pieter-Jozef Verhaghen

Pieter-Jozef Verhaghen (19 March 1728 in Aarschot – 3 April 1811 in Leuven) was a Flemish painter of large-scale religious and mythological scenes. He is regarded as the last representative of the so-called Flemish School of painting. In particular, he is seen as continuing the artistic tradition of Flemish Baroque painting as exemplified by Rubens in the late 18th century and into the 19th century. He was highly regarded during his lifetime and enjoyed the patronage of eminent patrons and religious institutions. He was appointed first court painter to Empress Maria Theresa of Austria who also provided him a stipend to travel abroad to further his artistic studies.

Pieter Aertsen

Pieter Aertsen (Amsterdam, 1508 – 3 June 1575), called Lange Pier ("Tall Pete") because of his height, was a Dutch painter in the style of Northern Mannerism. He is credited with the invention of the monumental genre scene, which combines still life and genre painting and often also includes a biblical scene in the background. He was active in his native city Amsterdam but also worked for a long period in Antwerp, then the centre of artistic life in the Netherlands.His genre scenes were influential on later Flemish Baroque painting, Dutch still life painting and also in Italy. His peasant scenes preceded by a few years the much better-known paintings produced in Antwerp by Pieter Bruegel the Elder.

The Banquet of Cleopatra

The Banquet of Cleopatra is the title of several works showing the culmination of a wager between Cleopatra and Mark Antony as to which one could provide the most expensive feast. As recounted in Pliny the Elder's Natural History she wins the wager: after Mark Antony's feast, Cleopatra drops a rare and precious pearl from her earring into a cup of vinegar and drinks it once the pearl has dissolved. The third person at the table is Lucius Munatius Plancus, at the time Antony's ally, who was to decide the winner of the wager.Most notable is the treatment by Tiepolo, though the subject was also painted by various artists, especially in Italian palace decoration and in Dutch Golden Age painting and Flemish Baroque painting, with a version by Jacob Jordaens (1653, Hermitage Museum); one by Gérard de Lairesse (late 1670s, Rijksmuseum); two versions by Jan de Bray, using his own family, including himself, as models (Royal Collection, 1652, and Currier Museum of Art, New Hampshire, 1669). In between the two versions most of those depicted had died in an outbreak of plague, making the later version largely a memorial portrait. Other artists included Gerard Hoet, who painted three versions of the subject in the early 18th century (two are in the Getty Center and Bayreuth, Germany).In both the Italian and northern traditions the subject fitted well into existing genres showing lavish dining, with the added attraction of making a more prestigious history painting with an impeccable and exotic classical origin. It often formed part of cycles on Antony and Cleopatra with other subjects including the Meeting of Cleopatra and Mark Anthony, the Death of Cleopatra, and sometimes her meetings with Julius Caesar and Octavian.


A tronie (16/17th-century Dutch for "face") is a common type, or group of types, of works common in Dutch Golden Age painting and Flemish Baroque painting that shows an exaggerated facial expression or a stock character in costume. It is related to the French word “tronche” which is slang for “mug” or head.

Unionskirche, Idstein

The Unionskirche (Union Church) is the active Protestant parish church of Idstein, a major town in the German Rheingau-Taunus District. Idstein was a residence of the Counts of Nassau. The church building in the center of the historic "Altstadt" (old town) dates back to the 14th century when it was built as a collegiate church. It became Lutheran during the Reformation. Its interior was adapted in the 17th century to become a Lutheran "Predigt- und Hofkirche" (sermon and court church). The most prominent decoration in the church is the series of 38 paintings by the Flemish painter Michael Angelo Immenraedt, an exponent of Flemish Baroque painting, and others. They follow a program of biblical scenes.

The church was named Unionskirche in 1917 to commemorate the union of Lutheran and Reformed Protestants in the Duchy of Nassau in August 1817, the first of its kind (before the Prussian Union in September of the same year). The Unionskirche is a recognized monument under the Hague Convention. It is used by the Protestant congregation, and it is open to other institutions as a concert venue, including concerts of the Rheingau Musik Festival. It features an organ, built in 1912 by Walcker Orgelbau, retaining the historic case dating back to 1783.

Dutch Caravaggisti
Flemish Caravaggisti
French Caravaggisti
Italian Caravaggisti
Spanish Caravaggisti

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