Jan Frans van Bredael Biography
JAN FRANS VAN BREDAEL THE ELDER 1683 ? Antwerp ? 1750 Jan Frans van Bredael came from a large family of Antwerp artists whose work was in demand from as far afield as London, Paris and Vienna. He was the grandson of Peter van Bredael (1629-1719) who specialised in Italian pastoral landscapes and the elder son of Alexander van Bredael (1663-1721) who depicted both Antwerp and Paris. Jan Frans studied with his father, painting landscapes, religious and military subjects. He travelled to Paris and accompanied the sculptor Michael Rysbrack to England in 1720. In 1725 he was back in Antwerp and became a member of the guild of St Luke. In 1746 Louis XIV bought four paintings from him. Jan Frans died in Antwerp in 1750; his son and pupil Jan Frans van Bredael the Younger (b.1729) continued the family tradition. Jan Frans produced landscapes in the tradition of Jan Brueghel the Elder (1568-1625), of which these river landscapes on copper are very fine examples. The figures are painted with miniaturist delicacy and the landscapes are crowded with incident. In each painting, a shining river leads the eye into the scene. In one, a laden coach sets off, perhaps at the end of market day. In the companion piece, several well-dressed travellers arrive at an inn. Bredael conjures up a landscape reminiscent of the Rhineland with villages and churches perched on woody promontories. Gentle sunlight bathes the scene and the country melts into misty distance. Bredael takes many motifs from Jan Brueghel the Elder, including the coach and horses seen obliquely from the front, the use of warm foregrounds and blue distance and the lively figures whose dress adds cheerful touches of blue and red to the landscape. Although these paintings were made in 1745, the figures are shown in early seventeenth century dress, associating them with the Old Master style of Jan Brueghel, whose work was highly sought after during his lifetime and afterwards. Bredael was commissioned by the Antwerp dealer Jacob de Witte to make copies of works by Jan Brueghel the Elder and Philips Wouwerman (Thieme-Becker, Allgemeines Lexicon der Bildenden Kunstler, Leipzig 1910, vol. IV, p.562). The work of Jan Frans van Bredael the Elder is represented in the Gemaldgalerie, Dresden; the Akademie der Bildenden Kunste, Vienna; the Staatliches Museum, Schwerin and the Louvre, Paris.