Adriaen van Utrecht

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Adriaen van Utrecht by Cornelis de Bie

Adriaen van Utrecht (Antwerp, 1599–1652) was a celebrated Flemish Baroque still life painter of the Antwerp school. He painted mainly still lifes, paintings of hunting scenes and was also known as a skilled animal painter. His painting depict still lifes showing kitchens, tables with game, houses with courtyards, poultry markets. His paintings, especially the hunting scenes, show the influence of Frans Snyders. His paintings are characterized by the use of dark colors.


Biography[edit]

Banquet Still Life, 1644, a pronkstilleven, 1644. (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam)

Adriaen van Utrecht was, contrary to the suggestion of his name, a native of Antwerp. In 1614 he joined the studio of Herman de Neyt, painter and art dealer, as an apprentice, and was early influenced by Frans Snyders (and later his pupil Jan Fyt). He travelled in France, Germany and Italy, where he absorbed Baroque influences and mastered strong chiaroscuro light effects. After his return to Antwerp in 1625, he was entered as a free master of the Guild of Saint Luke.[1]

In 1628 he married the painter and poetess Constantia,[2] daughter of the painter and poet Willem van Nieulandt II,[3] a few months after his sister Catharina had married the painter Simon de Vos. The artist ran his own studio with at least seven known pupils from 1626 to 1646, including Philip Gyselaer (1634/35), and Cornelis van Engelen. He influenced Jan Davidsz de Heem, Evaristo Baschenis, and Nicolas de Largillière.[1]

Career[edit]

Van Utrecht specialized in still lifes, in particular monumentalised animal pictures and lush displays of game, fruits and vegetables; also hunting trophies, vanitas themes, fish stalls, game larders, garlands and farmyard scenes, typically including poultry – turkeys, parrots and peacocks. Van Utrecht collaborated with other artists, and is known to have provided the still life elements to paintings by David Teniers the Younger, Jacob Jordaens, Erasmus Quellinus II, Theodoor Rombouts, Theodoor van Thulden, Jan van den Hoecke, and Thomas Willeboirts Bosschaert (1613/14–54); he also contributed to tapestry designs. He painted several works with Willeboirts Bosschaert, commissioned by Constantijn Huygens, for the Huis ten Bosch in The Hague in 1646.

Popularity[edit]

Banquet Still Life, pie, detail, 1644

He was popular with his contemporaries, a large number of his paintings finding their way to Spain, where he was patronised by Philip IV and is today represented in the Prado Museum. He was also commissioned to paint for the Austrian and German courts. His work is represented in numerous national collections, including the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, the Louvre, Paris (attr.), the Hermitage, St Petersburg, the Nationalmuseet, Stockholm, the Bowes Museum, England, and in the USA the Getty Museum, Malibu, the Fine Arts Museum, San Francisco, and the Utah Fine Arts Museum; also in public collections in Antwerp, Belgrade, Brussels, Cambrai, Cologne, Copenhagen, Lithuania, Munich, Tokyo, Vienna, etc. Adriaen van Utrecht is depicted in Cornelis de Bie's Het Gulden Cabinet, The Golden Cabinet of the Noble Liberal Art of Painting, a book in Dutch by the 17th-century Flemish notary and rederijker Cornelis de Bie published in Antwerp, containing artist biographies with engraved portraits of 16th- and 17th-century artists.

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