Hendrick van Balen

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Hendrick van Balen by Anthony van Dyck

Hendrick van Balen or Hendrick van Balen I (1574 or 1575 in Antwerp – 17 July 1632 in Antwerp) was a Flemish Baroque painter and stained glass designer.[1]


Van Balen was a pupil of Adam van Noort and possibly also of Marten de Vos. He became a member of the Antwerp Guild of Saint Luke in 1592-1593 at the age of 17. In 1608-1609 he was the second dean of the Guild and in 1609-1610 he was the first dean.

From about 1595 to 1602 he studied art while traveling in Italy.[2] Although there is no record of his Italian journey, on his return to Antwerp, he became a member of the Guild of Romanists. It was a condition of membership that the member had visited Rome. In the year 1613 the Guild chose him as its dean.

In 1605 Hendrick van Balen married Margriet Briers (or 'de Brier') in Antwerp. The couple had 11 children and three of their sons became painters: Jan van Balen, Gaspard van Balen and Hendrick van Balen the Younger. His daughter Maria married the painter Theodoor van Thulden.[1] In 1613 he accompanied Rubens and Jan on a diplomatic mission to the Dutch Republic. Here they met Hendrick Goltzius and other Haarlem artists.[3]

Van Balen led for over 30 years a successful studio and had many pupils. He was the teacher of his son Jan van Balen, Anthony van Dyck and Frans Snyders and was also a contemporary of many of the other famous Flemish artists, such as the Brueghels, Jan and Pieter.[4]


Early in his career van Balen created a number of large altarpieces, which show the influence of his teacher Adam van Noort. His later altarpieces, with their rich and subtle palette, appear to have been painted after van Dyck's arrival in his studio. Hendrick van Balen also painted mythological or biblical scenes on small plates or copper plates. His works often included nude figures in a mythological or religious scene, set in an idyllic setting. He also painted landscapes.[1]

Van Balen often collaborated with other artists such as Joos de Momper, Gaspar de Witte, Jan Brueghel the Elder and the Younger and Rubens.[3] Anthony van Dyck made a portrait if his teacher van Balen in 1627/1630. The painting is in the collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum. Nearly twenty other paintings are in public collections in the United Kingdom.[5]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b c Carl Van de Velde. "Balen, Hendrik van, I." Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press. Web. 8 Jul. 2014
  2. ^ Henrik van Balen biography in: Arnold Houbraken, De groote schouburgh der Nederlantsche konstschilders en schilderessen, 1718
  3. ^ a b Peter C. Sutton, Dutch & Flemish Paintings: The Collection of Willem Baron Van Dedem, frances lincoln ltd, 2002, p. 66
  4. ^ Hendrik van Balen at the Netherlands Institute for Art History (Dutch)
  5. ^ Paintings by Hendric van Balen at the BBC Your Paintings site

Further Reading[edit]

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