Jan Frans van Bloemen
Born in Antwerp, van Bloemen was a younger brother of Pieter van Bloemen. He travelled to Paris around 1682 and resided there for a few years. He then moved to Lyon where his brother Pieter van Bloemen was staying. He likely trained with his brother. He probably met the painter Adriaen van der Kabel around this time. Via Turin, Jan Frans and Pieter van Bloemen travelled on to Rome where in 1688 they were registered in the parish of Sant’Andrea delle Fratte. In 1690 a third painting brother, Norbert van Bloemen (1670-1746), joined them as well. Whereas Pieter returned to Antwerp in 1694 and Norbert left for Amsterdam before 1724, Jan Frans remained in Rome for the rest of his life. The Dutch-born painter Caspar van Wittel, who lived in Rome since 1675, became the godfather of his first child.
He joined the Bentvueghels, the association of Dutch and Flemish artists in Rome, where he took the nickname Orizzonte or Horizonti. This nickname referred to the distance he painted in his landscapes. While van Bloemen was a much locally patronized painter, he was unable to gain acceptance into the pre-eminent Roman painter's guild, the Accademia di San Luca, until he was over 70 years old. Some of the resistance may have arisen from the Roman establishment's disdain for landscape painting as a demonstration of skill.
Van Bloemen predominantly painted classical landscapes throughout his career, taking his inspiration from the Roman campagna. His landscapes, with their recession through a series of planes, soft, warm lightning and classical and religious subject matter, drew on the examples of artists such as Claude Lorrain and Gaspard Dughet. His paintings are exquisitely imbued with that "difficult-to-define pastoral ambience" which helped to make him such a great painter in the eyes of his contemporaries.
His landscapes have an Arcadian lushness, with mountains, streams, distant hamlets, and small inhabitants painted with imprecise pittura di tocco ('painting of touch') using small dotting and spirited brush-strokes.
- Web Gallery of Art: Paintings by Jan Frans van Bloemen
- Web Gallery of Art: Biography
- Bloemen, Jan Frans van at the Netherlands Institute for Art History site.