Monthly Masterpiece October 2015
Amsterdam c. 1642 - 1719 Amsterdam
Italianate Landscape with Figures and Animals in the Foreground
Canvas, 67 x 91 cm
Painted circa 1659-60
Hoogsteder & Hoogsteder, The Hague
Jan Weenix (c. 1642-1719 ) was a respected and successful painter in his day, celebrated for his phenomenal still lifes with game and his hunting scenes. A characteristic of his work is his inimitable application of paint, rendering different textures such as an animal’s fur or the fabric of a figure’s clothing with lifelike realism.
Weenix painted this ambitious work in his early period. He was around eighteen at the time and still an apprentice in his father’s workshop. His father, Jan Baptist Weenix (1621-1660), and his cousin Melchior d’Hondecoeter (1636-1695), were both acclaimed artists, and it was from them that he learned his trade.
In this work, the focus is on the hunter, wearing a red hunting jacket, leaning nonchalantly on his musket in the centre of the composition. His weight casually on one leg, he carries his ammunition bag over his shoulder. A young lad holding up a pinwheel in the warm Mediterranean breeze appears to amuse him. His loyal companion, a slender greyhound, is more interested in the sheep and goat resting in the foreground.
Corinthian columns appear in the middle distance, with a partially overgrown architrave. These columns, the aqueduct and a pyramid-like edifice beyond the marble columns leave little doubt as to the location of this delightful scene: we are in Italy. The warm Mediterranean light and the mountain range in the distance provide confirmation. This is Campagna, the countryside surrounding Rome. The huntsman is doubtless on his way to the tavern in the village in the background.
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This picture will be included in the forthcoming exhibition and sale:
Hunting, Game & Painting in the Golden Age (November 2015 – February 2016).