Balthasar Beschey

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Hypnos making Jupiter and Juno drowsy. Now at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen.

Balthasar Beschey (or Besschey), who was born at Antwerp in 1708, studied under Pieter Strick, an unimportant painter, but imitated the styles of Van Balen and of De Craeyer. In 1753 he was admitted as a freeman of the Guild of St. Luke, and two years later became one of the six directors of the Academy in the above town, and in the year following that was elected dean of St. Luke. He died in 1776, at Antwerp, while holding the post of professor in the Academy of that city. He painted landscapes at the commencement of his artistic career, but confined himself in after life to sacred history and portraiture. In the two latter branches of art he is well represented. His works display a taste for harmony, and are for the most part carefully executed, but are wanting in delicacy of colouring. The following may be mentioned:

Antwerp. Museum:

Joseph sold hy his brethren (signed and dated 1744).
Joseph viceroy of Egypt (signed and dated 1744).
Portrait of himself (signed — presented by him to the Academy of St. Luke in 1763).
Portrait of Martin Joseph Geeraerts.

Paris. Louvre:

A Flemish Family (signed and dated 1721).

Petersburg. Hermitage:

The Five Senses. An allegory. B. BESCHEIJ, 1733.
The Five Senses. An allegory. B. BESCHEIJ.

It has been recorded that Beschey had a son who was a painter, but this is a mistake. He had, however, three younger brothers who followed his profession, under his instruction, and one elder brother, who was a pupil of Goovaert's. This last mentioned was Carel Beschey, who was born at Antwerp in 1706. Then, after Balthasar, came Jacob Andreas Beschey, born at Antwerp in 1710, and still living in 1773. He also was 'doyen' of St. Luke. Next came Joseph Hendrik Beschey, who was born at Antwerp in 1714; and lastly, Jan François Beschey, who was born in 1717, at Antwerp, where he established himself as a picture dealer, and became celebrated for the copies he made of the works of Rubens, Van Dyck, Teniers, Pijnacker, Moucheron, and other great masters. He was dean of the Guild of St. Luke in 1767.


This article incorporates text from the article "BESCHEY, Balthasar" in Bryan's Dictionary of Painters and Engravers by Michael Bryan, edited by Robert Edmund Graves and Sir Walter Armstrong, an 1886–1889 publication now in the public domain.

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