Painting of the Golden Age: A Biographical Dictionary of Seventeenth-Century European Painters

Painting of the Golden Age: A Biographical Dictionary of Seventeenth-Century European Painters

Painting of the Golden Age: A Biographical Dictionary of Seventeenth-Century European Painters

Painting of the Golden Age: A Biographical Dictionary of Seventeenth-Century European Painters

Synopsis

Reference materials on European painting of the seventeenth century are generally restricted to a roster of a few dozen great masters such as Rembrandt, Rubens, Caravaggio, and Velazquez, but this Golden Age produced hundreds of prodigiously talented painters. Almost 300--mainly Dutch, Flemish, Italian, and Spanish--are here given biographical coverage based on an extensive bibliography of contemporaneous, later, and recent scholarship. Attention is focused on training, travel, commissions, stylistic influences and legacy, and pupils. For each artist, the oeuvre is analyzed with reference to major works, and a detailed list of additional works with museum holdings is appended. References are keyed to the backmatter bibliography, and museum citations refer to a list of 183 collections around the world. An appendix groups the featured artists by nationality, and an index completes the volume.

Excerpt

aelst, Willem van (Delft 1627-Amsterdam? ca. 1683), Dutch. One of seventeenth-century Holland's leading still-life painters, Willem van Aelst was famous in his day as a painter of flowers and, occasionally, fruits. He also helped develop the gamepiece (a still life consisting of dead game: hares, birds, hunting equipment, and so forth). He evolved a more ornate and elegant treatment of the gamepiece by about 1650 -- a formula which set the stage for later specialists and which corresponds to the development of the banquet still life by his contemporary Abraham van Beyeren. Van Aelst was gifted in describing various objects and was particularly adept at rendering the textures of flowers, fruits, the coats of rabbits, and the feathers of birds. His impact on eighteenth-century artists (e.g., Oudry and Chardin) was considerable. in his own day, he was second only to Kalf in influencing the development of Dutch still-life painting.

Speculation about van Aelst's birthdate ranges from 1625 to 1626, although modern scholars accept 1627. After studying with his uncle, Evert van Aelst, Willem joined the Delft Painters' Guild in 1643. in 1645 he set out for France, working there until 1649, whereupon he moved on to Italy where he lived from 1649 to 1656. There he found employment part of the time with Ferdinand ii de' Medici, the Grand Duke of Tuscany. in Italy van Aelst came to know Otto Marseus van Schrieck (whose pupil he might have been) as well as Schrieck's friend Matthias Withoos (who returned to Holland in 1653). Van Aelst joined the Schildersbent in Rome, where they nicknamed him the Scarecrow, an appellation he used on occasion as his . . .

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