Flemish painting and De Jonckheere Gallery's old master paintings
Galerie Robert Finck, Brussels.
With this superb painting, Louis de Caulery confirms his talent as a painter of architecture and may be considered as one of the initiators of a...read more
Galerie Robert Finck, Brussels.
With this superb painting, Louis de Caulery confirms his talent as a painter of architecture and may be considered as one of the initiators of a genre that acquired significant importance in the history of art: the veduti. A man of his time, this Flemish Renaissance artist turned to Italy and its masterpieces to depict the joys of life and the beauty of the world. Enchanted by Italian towns and their inhabitants’ way of living, Caulery transports us to Venice, to the Piazzetta and Saint Mark’s Square. Anchored in the spirit of 16th century landscapes, this splendid painting sweeps across the panorama from a high position, situated above the level of the Grand Canal. We can admire the heart of the City of the Doges as though perched on a ship’s high mast. This allows the viewer to enjoy a clear view, which begins on the quays where a dozen or so gondolas are bobbing up and down, and ends at the Clock Tower, whose door acts as the perfectly symmetrical vanishing point of an Italian-style perspective. The artist shows great precision in his rendering of the buildings, both from a topographical point of view and in the diversity of ochre tints chosen to convey the tones and softness of the stones warmed by the Venetian sun.
The viewer’s attention is also caught by Caulery’s exceptional talent at giving a feeling of life and humanity to the numerous characters that enliven the scene. Not wanting to limit himself to painting a simple urban view with an emphasis on architecture, the artist personalises every figure and brings to life the typically Italian atmosphere, which was particularly popular in Europe at the time. Small clusters of figures are scattered around the square: ordinary people, notables or ecclesiastical characters recognisable through their attire, figures carrying water, others awaiting their gondolas, and some watching the actors gathered on the square’s open-air stage in front of the Doge’s Palace, on the right of the painting.
At the back of the square on the right, Saint Mark's basilica, whose green tone forms a break in the row of buildings, draws our gaze towards the sky where the painter displays his thorough knowledge of colour. Emphasising the deep majesty of the blues, a downy space filled with pink clouds, which can be seen in many of his paintings, seems to announce the end of the day.
More than a century before Marieschi and Canaletto, Caulery confirmed his status as one of the first “vedutists” of Venice. In full control of his talent, the artist does not limit himself to presenting a faithful description of Saint Mark’s square. The painter also successfully renders the town’s very special atmosphere: a Mediterranean town, where a hint of the ancient agora can still be perceived, with its central square featuring a medley of architecture, art, trade, politics and religion... An art of living that Renaissance man dreamt of recreating.
Ca. 1575 – Antwerp – 1621
Probably originally from the village of Caulery near Cambrai, Louis de Caulery came to Antwerp in 1594 and trained with Joos de Momper. He was admitted as a master in this town in 1602.
It is still impossible to determine the exact date on which he went to Rome. His works bear witness to his stay in Venice, Florence and Rome.
Clearly associated with genre painting, this artist depicted a great variety of scenes, such as carnivals on ice, firework displays, bull fights, great collections, allegories of the five senses, and gatherings painted in the spirit of the Fontainebleau School.
The tall stature of the figures, their studied attitudes, their smooth faces, and their bare foreheads characterise his style. His colours are particularly refined. His palette, influenced by the Italian masters, was an innovation in Flanders, using halftones, yellow ochre, Veronese green and wine-coloured tints. His architectural representations show his attention to precision and his great skill in the Italian-style rendering of perspective.