Flemish painting and De Jonckheere Gallery's old master paintings
The paintings of Jan ‘Velvet’ Brueghel are revealed under a new light in the works of Josef van Bredael. Established at the court of the Duke of Orléans, this...read more
The paintings of Jan ‘Velvet’ Brueghel are revealed under a new light in the works of Josef van Bredael. Established at the court of the Duke of Orléans, this artist, with his extremely delicate brushstroke, helped to distribute the works of the Antwerp masters. This village scene animated with figures and a view over the landing stage of a river, propels the viewer into the finest landscape paintings created by the Brueghels.
Innovative in its day, this delightful river landscape illustrates the desire to portray depth in Flemish landscape. According to a simple and effective system, the piece of land jutting out and the river form two triangles whose tips coincide to form a vanishing point. On the horizon, we can see the subtle outline of a church painted in white against a deep blue background. Here, Bredael demonstrates his ability to integrate technical precepts while applying his own palette of colours.
This painting bears a resemblance to the famous works painted by Jan Brueghel the Younger, who also admired and copied his father’s paintings. In the panels in the museums in Antwerp and Munich, we find this same understanding of space, but also this anecdotal taste for colourfully dressed characters. In a contrasted light, under the shelter of the trees on the bank, it is always the same scenes that animate the landscape. Some characters are mooring their boat, while others are carrying provisions. Two cows survey the arrival of the inhabitants laden with provisions, while the village carries on as usual in the background. Dotted with vibrant colours, from a sumptuous red to a delicate pink, the fishermen and villagers give this scene all its meaning.
Rightfully considered as one of the best imitators of Jan Brueghel the Elder, Josef van Bredael, with his village animated with figures and a view over the landing stage of a river, is indeed one of his most admirable representatives and the worthy successor of a great line of painters.
1688 Antwerp – Paris 1739
The brother of Jan Pieter, Josef van Bredael was a Flemish landscape artist, and part of a long line of painters. En 1706, at the age of eighteen, he committed himself for...
1688 Antwerp – Paris 1739
The brother of Jan Pieter, Josef van Bredael was a Flemish landscape artist, and part of a long line of painters. En 1706, at the age of eighteen, he committed himself for four years to coping small paintings by Jan ‘Velvet’ Brueghel, Philippe Wouverman and other artists for the Antwerp dealer J. de Witte. In 1735 he emigrated to Paris. He became a member of the Royal Academy of the court of the Duke of Orléans.
This painter, whose style is still widely unknown, signed his paintings with the monogram JB, like Jan Brueghel, hence the occasional confusion. Essentially a landscape artist, Josef van Bredael was inspired by Brueghelian compositions though he employed the aesthetics particular to his day in his interpretations. Focusing on details, he meticulously executes his characters and décor in the style of a miniaturist. He particularly excels in indicating the succession of planes by using lateral screens and through subtle and nuanced colouring, with an orientation towards tones of dominant blues and browns, though always gentle and subtle.
While his compositions and motifs are sometimes borrowed from Jan Brueghel, he adds a personal note to the contours of his figures and his strokes. The portrayal of the horse is particularly characteristic with its slender legs, a powerful body and a strangely small head. He shapes his motifs and volumes with a light stroke which gives the impression of life and movement.
Showing a keen observation of the animal world within a harmonious landscape, the painter uses a real quality of execution and a delicate naturalism which places him amongst the best imitators of Jan ‘Velvet’ Brueghel, alongside P. Gysels, T. Michau or M. Schoevaerdts.