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The Alchemist's Studio (1571)

Giovanni Stradano or Jan Van der Straet or van der Straat or Stradanus or Stratensis (1523 – 2 November 1605) was a Flanders-born mannerist artist active mainly in 16th century Florence, Italy.


Born in Bruges, he began his training in the shop of his father, then in Antwerp with Pieter Aertsen. By 1545, he had joined the Antwerp guild of Saint Luke or painters' guild, the equivalent of the Roman (Accademia San Luca). He reached Florence in 1550, where he entered in the service of the Medici Dukes and Giorgio Vasari. The Medici court was his main patron, and he designed a number of scenes for tapestries and frescoes to decorate the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, the Medici Villa at Poggio a Caiano, and providing cartoons for the Arazzeria Medicea. He also worked for the Pazzi Family in their estates in Montemurlo.

Tapestry with the hunting scene and the coat of arms of Dymitr Chalecki [pl] (late 16th century)

Many of his works depict hunts, designs which became so popular they were translated into prints. Stradanus collaborated with printmakers Hieronymus Cock and the Galle family in Antwerp to produce hundreds of prints on a variety of subjects, most of which were repeatedly reproduced and often bound into volumes.[1] He also worked with Francesco Salviati in the decoration of the Vatican Belvedere. He was one of the artists involved in the Studiolo of Francesco I (1567–1577), to which he contributed two paintings including The Alchemist's Studio.

He died at Florence in 1605.

Karel van Mander wrote about him in his Schilder-boeck, mentioning that he was 74 in 1603 and still a member of the Florence drawing academy. He also mentioned his pupil Antonio Tempesta, who painted ships and Amazon battle scenes (bataljes).

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  1. ^ "Codart". Stradanus (1523-1605), artist at the Medici court. Retrieved 15 November 2012.
  • Text from Karel van Mander's Schilderboeck, p. 195: Daer is nae mijnen tijdt, oft noch teghenwoordich te Room, een Florentijn, Discipel van Ioan van der straet, oft Stradanus, geheeten Antonio Tempesta, die seer ghepresen wort, hebbende veel dinghen gheteyckent en ghehetst, als Iachten, Batailgen der Amasones: oock Ao. 1593. in platte forme, en in't groote, de Stadt van Room.

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