Colnaghi Collections_Vol 01 - Page 161

Fig. 23.1 Frans Francken
the Younger, The
Triumph of Neptune and
Amphitrite, ca. 1620,
brown and red ink on
paper, 31.8 x 40.2 cm,
Dresden, Staatliche
Fig. 23.2 Peter Paul Rubens, Banquet of Achelous, ca. 1615, oil on panel, 108 x 163.8 cm, New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
While the iconography of this work derives from ancient literary
had long featured in Antwerp’s allegorical self-fashioning, given
Liedtke considered Rubens’s treatment of the scene a typical
An analysis of the artists’ techniques indicates that both had reached
sources, there are several references to contemporary visual
its economic dependence as a mercantile city on the river and
“cabinet painting” in its elaborate narrative and lavish details,
artistic maturity.11 Francken had achieved his mature glazing
sources too. Luxurious objects, such as the bejewelled ceremonial
lacking only the characteristic small-scale format. Francken’s
technique and figural style by around 1620, a date consistent with the
painting certainly falls in the same category, also corresponding in
signature type Do (u) FFRANCK.IN.E.F. (short for: Den Ouden Frans
scale to the usual cabinet painting size.
Francken invenit et fecit – the old Frans Francken devised and made the
carafes, recall vessels made by Erasmus Hornick (active before
1555, d. 1583) and prints for decoration and ornamentation of
The most direct source for Francken’s painting, however, is
many other designers.
Rubens’s well-known Banquet of Achelous (New York, Metropolitan
Museum of Art) (fig. 23.2). This work has been identified as a
Like Rubens’s painting the current work represents a collaboration
seem comparable to that in the Banquet of Odysseus with the Nymph Calypso in
Two drawings, both in Dresden, relate to the painting and
collaboration between Rubens and Jan Brueghel the Elder,
between two gifted Antwerp masters: Frans Francken painted the
the Vienna Academy (fig. 23.3), a collaboration between Momper, Jan
confirm Francken’s skill as a draughtsman, noted by his
executed between 1614-1615. Rubens depicts a slightly different
figures and signed the work, while the landscapist, Joos de Momper,
Brueghel the Elder, and Hendrik van Balen, dated to around 1616.13
contemporaries. 5 The first drawing links the triumphal
moment in the story, when Achelous recounts the transformation
was responsible for the cave scenery.10 Francken, the most famous
procession of sea creatures with the banquet in the cave, while the
of the nymph Perimele, with whom he had an affair, into an
member of a large family of Flemish artists, was one of the most
Although the similarities between the figures in the present
second depicts the baldachin above the bridal couple (fig. 23.1);
island on account of her father’s rage. Francken avoids Ovid’s
important small-figure painters of his time and specialized in
work and those in Rubens’s Banquet are not great, Francken’s
this detail alludes to a contemporary civic ritual. On important
tragic narrative, instead connecting the feast to the bright and
cabinet pictures. Joos de Momper the Younger, a landscape painter
composition cannot be studied without reference to the New York
state occasions, a similar vehicle carrying Neptune and
energetic atmosphere of the triumphal procession. The extended
in both small and large formats, was closely connected from 1600
model, therefore indicating a date close to 1620.
Amphitrite, patrons of Antwerp, would roll through the city in
landscape format leads the viewer’s eye to the sea and the ensuing
to the court in Brussels. Teamwork among specialists on a single
a mock, all’antica triumphal procession. Sea and marine figures
joyful scene.
painting was a typical feature of the Antwerp school.
composition).12 Momper’s accomplished glazing technique and style here
U rsula H ärting


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