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Kessel the Elder, Jan van
Jan van Kessel the Elder
Kessel I, Jan van
Jan van Kessel I
Kessel, Jan I Van
Jan van Kessel II [rarely used]
Jan van Kessel, Sr.
Jan van Kessel, senior
I Jan Van [rarely used]

Кессель Старший, Ян ван
Ян ван Кессель Старший

(1612-1679) ?


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Ян ван Кессель Старший (нидерл. Jan van Kessel; 1626-1679) - фламандский живописец. Ещё в детском возрасте начал учиться у Симона де Воса, а затем у Брейгеля Младшего, в 18-летнем возрасте уже записан в гильдию святого Луки в Антверпене. Писал птиц, цветы, пейзажи, портреты, иногда на мифологические и религиозные сюжеты. Композиция его обдуманная, исполнение колоритно; фигуры слабее прочего, портреты посредственны.

 v1. Jan van Kessel (Antwerp, 1626 - Antwerp, 1679) was a Flemish painter of still lifes, who was the father of another painter with the same name Jan van Kessel, and Jan Brueghel the Elder's grandson. He become a member of the Antwerp painters' guild and was influenced by Daniel Seghers (1590-1661).

v2.Painter and designer Jan van Kessel of Antwerp was the son of the painter Hieronymus van Kessel and the grandson of Jan Brueghel. In 1645 he was registered in the Antwerp St Luke's Guild. Van Kessel specialised in small oil paintings of insects and fruit on copper and wood. Jan van Kessel painted many animals (especially insects) and flowers, as well as some myphological and biblical scenes. His choice of subject leaned towards those which included animals and plants; for example, he painted Noah's Ark.

v3. Jan van Kessel II counted his uncle Jan Brueghel the Younger among his teachers. He joined the Antwerp painters' guild in 1645 and specialized in small-scale pictures of subjects gleaned from the natural world such as floral still lifes and allegorical series showing animal kingdoms, the four elements, the senses, or the parts of the world. Obsessed with picturesque detail, van Kessel worked from nature and used illustrated scientific texts as sources for filling his pictures with objects represented with almost scientific accuracy. Scholars trace many of van Kessel's subjects back to a prototype by some eminent predecessor. Joris Hoefnagel's works inspired van Kessel's sensitive and delicate drawings of insects and flowers, executed mainly in watercolor on parchment. Van Kessel showed a preference for beetles, caterpillars, and butterflies and occasionally arranged caterpillars to spell out his name. The works of his grandfather Jan Brueghel the Elder, Roelandt Savery, and Frans Synders influenced his paintings of animals. His paintings frequently exhibited a fascination with the bizarre, the exotic, and even the grotesque, as in his Cannibalistic Indians. In his later years, he had to mortgage his possessions to pay off his debts.

v4. Jan van Kessel the Elder's delightful painting on copper of butterflies, insects and flowers was probably made to decorate a collector's cabinet which contained naturalia. Sets of such paintings were produced, making up an even number and arranged round a central painting. Perhaps influenced by Joris Hoefnagel's (1542-1601) exquisite gouache studies of insects, van Kessel started to paint this type of composition in the first half of the 1650s; the earliest dated examples are from 1653 (a set of five with Richard Green in 1975). He produced them well into the 1660s, but most dated examples are from the 1650s.

Kessel's work is inspired by collections of naturalia - including insects pinned to boards - which were very popular items of display in the seventeenth century. Here each insect, shell or flower is studied individually, each with its different angle and shadow. The use of a white background, typical of van Kessel's insect studies, allows for a sharp focus on the shape and textures of the creatures and throws their brilliant colours into relief. It is particularly successful here in the depiction of the flamboyant Swallowtail butterfly and of the intense blue of the borage flowers.

Jacob Weyerman, who was taught by van Kessel's son Ferdinand, records that Jan frequently worked from nature, as well making use of illustrated scientific texts. The present painting reflects the seventeenth century fascination with natural science and also praises the variety of "God's Creation," which is drawn together in a decorative ensemble. The wide choice of elements in the present painting belongs to the later development of this type of work by van Kessel: in earlier examples the emphasis is placed on insects and butterflies alone.

v5. A grandson of Jan Brueghel the Elder by his mother, and nephew of Jan Brueghel the Younger and of David Teniers, Jan van Kessel was more influenced by his grandfather and uncle than by his apprenticeship with Simon de Vos. His name appeared in 1645 on the registers of the St Luke Guild. He specialized in painting animals, birds, frogs and insects, which he pictured in particular in paintings of “The Four Elements”, “The Four Parts of the World” (in museums in Cambridge, Madrid, Prague and Strasbourg), of allegories, of fables as well as in pictures for cabinets of very small sizes. Jan van Kessel is also one of the most famous painters of flowers of that century. In addition to his production of miniaturist banketjes, van Kessel’s series of copper panels representing allegories of the elements constitute a specific aspect of his work. In this context, and according to the tradition popularised by the Brueghel dynasty, the landscapes with birds are quite naturally regarded as metonymic representations of Air. However, in the hands of van Kessel, unlike in the treatments of the theme by Brueghel, there is no trace of an allegorical figure added to flesh out or justify the scene: the composition can be reduced to its simplest and most direct elements: the creatures of the air. It is in this way that, in each of these two paintings, the birds stand out against a simple landscape background, a harbour scene in one case and a more maritime coastal setting for the other. One aspect that adds to the specific desirability of these works consists in the diverse and complementary selection of the birds depicted. While the first painting concentrates on birds that are closely linked to the aquatic element, such as herons, ducks and other waterfowl, the second collects birds of more terrestrial connotations, both indigenous (pheasants) and migratory or exotic (cranes). Even the last of the four elements, fire, is implicitly present in the fortress and other human constructions that are visible in the background of one of these panels. In this way, it also completes the syncretic vision offered by this charming pair of small paintings, rendered with this at once detailed, spirited and lively brushwork that is so typical of the art of van Kessel.

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