Friday, October 24, 2014

Lucas van Valckenborch

View of Antwerp with the Frozen Schelde
oil on panel
42.5 x 63.5 cm
Stadel, Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Lucas van Valckenborch (1535-1597) is a Flemish Renaissance painter of mainly landscapes, portraits and allegorical scenes. He was born in Leuven about 16 miles of Brussels, he was enrolled in the Guild of St Luke in Mechelen in 1560 and four years later was quite a master. In 1566 he fled Mechelen as he was a supporter of the Reformation and went to Aachen, which was at the time a safer place for protestants. After a period in Liege he moved to Antwerp in 1576. Soon after that, Matthias, Holy Roman Emperor, was his patron, and travelled with him down the Danube as far as Linz where he stayed as a court painter until 1593 when he left for Frankfurt am Main.

His style was close to Pieter Brueghel the Elder, but he modified this influence in a personal manner and was not a slavish copyist. His work was rooted in the same Flemish tradition, without following the newer Mannerist movement. His landscapes generally followed the conventions of composition, with panoramic scenes from a high viewpoint. He relied, however, more on first-hand observation of nature and he made paintings of actual places, rather than the fantastic landscapes of other Flemish landscape painters. He also created some close-up representations of forest landscapes. He also painted some a series of large pictures depicting the labours of the months in the mid-1580s. He died in Frankfurt am Main and was buried there in St. Peter's Cemetery in 1597.