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Oil painting - Garland of Fruit Surrounding a Cartouche Opening onto a Landscape
  • Garland of Fruit Surrounding a Cartouche Opening onto a Landscape
    Gillemans, Jan Pauwel the Elder, born 1618 - died 1675
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Garland of Fruit Surrounding a Cartouche Opening onto a Landscape

  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Place of origin:

    Antwerp (painted)

  • Date:

    mid 17th century (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Gillemans, Jan Pauwel the Elder, born 1618 - died 1675 (painter (artist))

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Oil on canvas

  • Museum number:

    4419-1857

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Very little is known about Jan Pauwel Gillemans (1618-1675) the Elder's life and work. Son of a goldsmith, he was born and resided all his life in Antwerp. He was most likely in contact with Jan Davidsz. de Heem's circle. His son, Jan Pauwel Gillemans the Younger (1651-1704) was also a still-life painter.

This painting belongs to the Flemish tradition of fruits and flowers garlands surrounding cartouche in which is represented another subject matter. They were characteristic of the school of Antwerp where Jan Brueghel the Elder (1601-1678), Daniel Seghers (1590-1661) and their followers produced still life combined with a figural scene.

Physical description

A 'cartouche' fruit garland depicting fruits of different seasons, birds and butterfly surrounding a seascape with a cavalry and a church.

Place of Origin

Antwerp (painted)

Date

mid 17th century (painted)

Artist/maker

Gillemans, Jan Pauwel the Elder, born 1618 - died 1675 (painter (artist))

Materials and Techniques

Oil on canvas

Marks and inscriptions

'Gilemans. fe.'
Signed by the artist, top left

Dimensions

Height: 145.5 cm estimate, Width: 114.3 cm estimate, :

Object history note

Purchased, 1857

Historical significance: This work is a typical Flemish ‘cartouche’ flower painting, with a garland of fruit framing a cartouche, in which appears a different subject, in this case a landscape. Still-life painters seem to have produced such floral garlands for stock, leaving reserves for central cartouches to be added later, as required. The garland is richly garnished with a variety of fruit and vegetables from different seasons. The pomegranate on the left-hand side is a common symbol of the Passion.

X-ray photography has revealed that the landscape in the cartouch was painted by a later hand, probably in the 18th century, over an original painting of the Virgin and Child. The landscape also has religious connotations, with a calvary on the right and a church on the left.

This painting was acquired with another flower-piece of similar character (V&A, 4420-1857), in which a garland of flowers surrounds an angel's head with the holy sacrament. This was formerly attributed to Daniel Seghers, but in 2010 was reattributed to Jan Pauwel Gillemans. The two works may have been intended as a pair.

Historical context note

Jan Pauwel Gillemans the Elder (1618-1675) was the son of a goldsmith. He was born and lived in Antwerp, but little is known of his work. He was probably in contact with Jan Davidsz. de Heem's circle. His son, Jan Pauwel Gillemans the Younger (1651-1704) was also a still-life painter.

At Antwerp flower painters such as Jan Brueghel the Elder (1601-1678) and Daniel Seghers (1590-1661) often collaborated with figure painters including Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) on works such as the Madonna in a Floral Wreath, ca. 1620, Alte Pinakothek, Munich. Paintings with cartouches representing religious subjects such as the Virgin and Child could serve for private devotion. Later, similar compositions were combined with secular subjects, including portraits.

Still-life painting reached the height of its popularity in the Netherlands during the 17th century.The style set by Snyders's Rubensian banquet pieces was developed at Antwerp by the Dutchman Jan Davidsz. de Heem (1606-1684), and opulent baroque confections of fruit, flowers, and precious vessels became popular throughout Europe. Scholarly opinion is divided over the extent to which these works were envisaged asmemento mori, or vanitas subjects, reminding of human mortality and inviting meditation on the passage of time. Fruit and flower pieces retained their popularity until the 19th century.

Descriptive line

Oil painting, 'Garland of Fruit Surrounding a Cartouche Opening onto a Landscape', Jan Pauwel Gillemans the Elder, mid 17th century

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Kauffmann, C.M., Catalogue of Foreign Paintings, I. Before 1800. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1973, p. 130, cat. no. 150.
R. Warner, Dutch and Flemish flower and fruit painters of the 17th and 18th centuries, London, 1928, p. 8, pl. 35a.
M. L. Hairs, Les peintres flamands de fleurs, Paris-Bruxelles, 1955, pp. 143, 215.

Production Note

The landscape and birds in the centre are by a later hand, probably of the 18th century. An X-ray photograph shows that the composition originally contained the Virgin and Child, who were painted over when the landscape was inserted.

Materials

Oil paint; Canvas

Techniques

Oil painting

Subjects depicted

Landscape; Fruit; Birds; Garland; Still life

Categories

Paintings

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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