Flemish painting and De Jonckheere Gallery's old master paintings
Provenance: private collection
Animated by a scene of travellers crossing a peaceful Flemish village, this landscape is based on a model elaborated by ‘Velvet’ Breughel; Van Oosten was one of his best disciples. A few farms are arranged on either side of a sunken central path, in small valleys, with a pronounced sense of composition, while a covered cart surrounded by horsemen – a frequent element in ‘Velvet’ Breughel’s work – hurtles down the rough track. Some of the occupants look out of their windows to satisfy their curiosity. All around, peasants, who do not appear in any way bothered by this convoy, are busying themselves with their daily occupations, returning from the market or fording the river with their horses. In this picturesque piece of work, the artist distinguishes himself through his meticulous rendering of nature and his nuanced use of colours, which subtly fade away into the outer fringes of the scene. The original format of this panel, which favours a very airy composition, gives it a special place among the artist’s works.
The son of an art dealer of the same name, Isaac van Oosten was born in Antwerp in 1613. It was only in 1652, at the age of thirty-nine, that he became a master of the corporation. His production was limited since he died in 1661 without leaving any descendents. As a good Antwerpian, Isaac van Oosten liked to paint simple open landscapes. His works, situated in the second half of the century, were barely influenced by woodland painters. He preferred open spaces, simply animated by a pond or several clumps of trees. Gentleness and tranquillity emanate from a mainly hilly landscape. No breeze moves the trees, and the light spreads gently over the entire painting.