Frans Snyders

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Snyders and his wife, by Anthony van Dyck, Kassel

Frans Snyders or Snijders (11 November 1579 – 19 August 1657) was a Flemish painter of animals and still lifes.


Still Life with a Wine Cooler (1610-1620)

Snyders was born and died in Antwerp. He was recorded as a student of Pieter Brueghel the Younger in 1593, and subsequently received instruction from Hendrick van Balen, the first master of Anthony van Dyck. He was a friend of van Dyck who painted Snyders and his wife more than once (Frick Collection, Kassel etc.).

He became a master of the Antwerp Guild of St. Luke in 1602. He travelled to Italy in 1608-9, visiting Rome, and working for Cardinal Borromeo in Milan. In 1611 he married Margaretha, the sister of Cornelis de Vos and Paul de Vos (another animal painter), in Antwerp. Jan Fyt (Joannes Fijt) was a student, and then assistant of his from 1629.

He was appointed principal painter to the Archduke Albert of Austria, governor of the Low Countries, for whom he executed some of his finest works. One of these, a Stag-Hunt was presented to Philip III of Spain, who together with his successor Philip IV of Spain, commissioned the artist to paint several subjects of the chase, which are still preserved in Spain. He also worked for Archduke Leopold Wilhelm of Austria, when he became Governor.

Wild Boar Hunt   (Rockox House, Antwerp)
Oil on canvas, 194 x 340 cm

He had many apprentices: his registered pupils were Nicasius Bernaerts, Peter van Boucle, Juriaen Jacobsze, Jan Roos (I), and Paul de Vos.[1] Peter van Boucle claimed that he was a pupil of Frans Snijders but there are no written sources available in Antwerp that support this contention. However, there are stylistic similarities in van Boucle's works which suggest that he worked in the circle of Frans Snijders.[2]


Snyders initially devoted himself to painting flowers, fruit and subjects of still life, but later turned to painting animals, and executed with the greatest skill and spirit hunting pieces and combats of wild animals. He was one of the earliest specialist animaliers.

His composition is rich and varied, his drawing correct and vigorous, his touch bold and thoroughly expressive of the different textures of furs and skins. His excellence in this department excited the admiration of Rubens, who frequently employed him to paint animals, fruit and still life in his own pictures, and he assisted Jacob Jordaens, Thomas Willeboirts Bosschaert, Jan Janssens and other artists in a similar manner.

In the lion and boar hunts which bear the name of Snyders the hand of Rubens sometimes appears. He was one of the executors of Rubens' will.


  1. ^ Frans Snijders at the Netherlands Institute for Art History (Dutch)
  2. ^ Peter van Boucle at the Netherlands Institute for Art History (Dutch)

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