Saturday, October 25, 2014

Tobias Verhaecht

Alpine landscape (Paisaje alpino)
oil on canvas
106 x 267 cm
Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain

Tobias Verhaecht (1561-1631) was a Flemish painter and draughtsman, born in Antwerp, where he would spend most of his life. He spent much of his early life in Florence, where he won the favour of Francesco I, Grand Duke of Tuscany, and in Rome, where he earned a reputation as a painter of landscape frescoes. He returned to Antwerp and became a master of the Guild of St. Luke in 1590. He was a member of a local Chamber of rhetoric and wrote a comedy for it in 1620.

In 1592 the young Peter Paul Rubens came to study with him and he became the first teacher of Rubens. He married the grand-daughter of Peter Paul Rubens' stepfather and a cousin of his mother.

He mostly specialized in landscapes, often incorporating monuments he had seen in Italy in his compositions. For this purpose, numerous drawings he had made in Italy circulated in his workshop, where they were copied by his pupils. His landscapes followed the traditional style of the world landscape, which had first been developed in the first half of the 16th century by Joachim Patinir and had reached its peak with Pieter Bruegel the Elder. The landscapes depict imaginary mountains characterized by rocky peaks seen from a high viewpoint and typically including a religious or mythological scene. His work closely resembles in style the set of 12 large landscape prints published by Hieronymus Cock after designs by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. He collaborated with other painters such as Jan Brueghel the Elder. He produced several versions of the Tower of Babel.