Already in his Lifetime
the Rich yearned for his Paintings
350 Years Posthumous Fame
Princely Painter – Painter of the Princes
Frans Snyders 1657 – 2007
“(He) is regarded as most important still life and animal painter of Flemish art, maybe even of his epoch. A generous and shining-colorful painting technique distinguishes his works . Friendly relations to Rubens resulted in joint works … also in paintings of van Dyck Snyders frequently painted animal and still life accessories … (and) did not have a permanent workshop”
(catalog Berlin/Dahlem, 1975, page 405).
His portrait by the hand of van Dyck in the New York Frick Collection shows him as a sovereign man. Radiating not least that generosity which for Thieme-Becker also distinguishes his paintings and, equal among equals, beside artistic fame also earned him the economic equivalent. And when on August 24, 1657, the will of the childless widowed princely painter was opened he had thought as expected of everything and everyone. From sister Marie, head of the care of the sick at the Beguinage in his hometown Antwerp, as universal heiress over the nephews and nieces and their children, the godchildren “who partly also should receive jewelry” (Hella Robels), up to the two maids, the poor, and the Lucas Guild. His art collection was purchased by the art dealer Musson whose detailed inventory published two years later lets assume “a considerable level” of it. Characteristically his house in the Keizerstraat was called fortuyne.
“ S(nyders’) art directly continues that of Jan Bruegel I,
but gains a greatness and independence
which that has achieved never, and which can only be explained from a decisive influence by P. P. Rubens … (The latter, as also others up to van Dyck and Jordaens, has) recruited S. for the painting of animals, fruit, and flowers in his paintings and … employed constantly ”
(Thieme-Becker XXXI , 190).
The latter especially for the spectacular orders of Philip IV of Spain for which Snyders’ participation finally became explicit part of the contract.
“ The partnership of Rubens and Snyders certainly is a fascinating theme
which through the centuries was mentioned again and again and in 1971 was examined in an important essay of Michael Jaffé. The co-operation with Rubens also was the real starting point for my occupation with the still life painter who captivated me more and more. That Rubens highly influenced Snyders’ development would barely be denied by anyone. Particularly also
his pictorial development seems to have taken place
parallel to that of the Antwerp grand master .
In his still life sujets he had a farer reaching and newly establishing function, however,
which must have impressed Rubens highly .
Here he cultivated a specialism that raised him to the leading master in his domain in Antwerp. The still life painting by Snyders is valued far to little yet. Beside the large market paintings and pantries with and without figures
the pure still lifes of medium and smaller size
fascinate by their dynamic compositions ,
by the outspoken tactile presence of the objects, by the power of the colors. One cannot escape the lucky accord of these qualities … ”
(Hella Robels, Frans Snyders, 1989, page 9).
Snyders had become the incarnation of ultimate authority for the zoological & botanical
while in line with most co-operative division of labor of the time renown colleagues painted the figures for him and still the landscape backgrounds frequently are by Jan Wildens. We are not going to ignore this his particular ability as we approach his
still life as a zenith of the late years
put up below for a purchase seizing the opportunity .
Snyders’ paintings, so Zoege von Manteuffel in Thieme-Becker continuing, represent
“ on their field companions to Rubens’ figure paintings ”.
Death in Snyders’ still lifes, present in the dead game no different as in the fruit and plants deprived of their livelines, understood as an aesthetic experience, as beauty sui generis, originating from that perfection that makes so speechless in front of old Netherlandish painting.
Here then and today …
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(Mr. P. T., May 21, 2008)