Very few details about the life of Karel Breydel have been recorded. Most of the information about Karel Breydel's life is based on the writings of the French 18th-century biographer Jean-Baptiste Descamps who included a lengthy biography of Breydel in his La Vie des Peintres Flamands, Allemands et Hollandois. This information is not very reliable as Descamps was prone to inventing stories to make his biographies more interesting.
Karel Breydel was an older brother of Frans Breydel, who became court painter in Kassel. He was in Antwerp a pupil of Pieter Rijsbraeck for three years and then of Peter Ykens. He left for a trip to Italy and travelled via Frankfurt and Nuremberg. When he heard about his brother's success in Kassel, he abandoned his plans to go to Italy and travelled instead to Kassel to join his brother. Here the two brothers worked together for two years with considerable success. Breydel then travelled to Amsterdam. He was back in Antwerp in 1703 where he became a master of the Guild of Saint Luke in 1704.
Karel Breydel is known as a painter of battle pieces and cavalry attacks. These paintings are ingeniously composed and painted with spirit after the manner of Adam Frans van der Meulen, the leading Flemish battle painter of the 17th century. He also executed a number of landscapes and views of the Rhine in the manner of Griffier.
Several leading European museums own paintings by Breydel.
- Charles Breydel in: Jean Baptiste Descamps, La Vie des Peintres Flamands, Allemands et Hollandois, avec des portraits gravés en Taille-douce, une indication de leurs principaux Ouvrages, & des réflexions sur leurs différentes manieres, Volume 4, 1760, p. 191-195 (in French)
- Adolphe Siret, Charles Breydel at the Nouvelle Biographie Nationale (in French)
- Karel Breydel at the Netherlands Institute for Art History (in Dutch)
- Media related to Karel Breydel at Wikimedia Commons