Jan Frans van Bloemen

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Van Bloemen The Flight into Egypt, oil on copper
Van Bloemen The Rest on the Flight to Egypt, oil on copper

Jan Frans van Bloemen (baptized 12 May 1662 - buried 13 June 1749) was a Flemish landscape painter mainly active in Rome.


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.[1] 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.

Among his pupils were Franz Ignaz Oefele, Gabriele Ricciardelli, and Nicolò Bonito. He died in Rome in 1749.


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.[2]

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.

He worked together with other painters who painted the figures in his landscapes such as Carlo Maratti, Placido Costanzi and Pompeo Batoni.[3]


  1. ^ Jan Frans van Bloemen at Hadrianus
  2. ^ Bolton, Roy (2009). Old Master Paintings & Drawings, London, Sphinx Books, p. 194. ISBN 9781907200014
  3. ^ Christine van Mulders and Alain Jacobs. "Bloemen, van." Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press. Web. 20 Jul. 2014

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