The Market in Antwerp.
In the sixteenth-century, Antwerp was the largest commercial city in the Low Countries. And for some scholars, Antwerp is considered to be the first great example of a market in Europe, or at least the paradigm of a capitalist centre of exchange stimulated by commercial activity. Its rise was partly due to the “Age of Exploration” and the decline of its neighbour Bruges. The role of foreigners was of great importance here: there was International trafficking in goods such as Baltic grain, English textiles, Portuguese spices, Spanish silver, German wines, and other commodities. It attracted merchants from all over Europe. Such English organisations as the Merchant Adventurers,  foremost in the trade between Antwerp & London, consolidated their hold on trade, and eventually Antwerp ceased trading with England when that country ended its banking business with Antwerp in 1574. The role of the merchant was of salient importance during Antwerp’s economic rise since from medieval times this figure had “provided the necessities of life for residents of the ever-expanding towns.”  But the merchant practiced the civic policy of provision “according to which as many goods as possible must be attracted into towns for the benefits of consumers; in terms of social thought, it is based on a view of society as founded on natural laws that included mutual aid and brotherly love and excluded personal initiative and acquisitiveness.” As Honig goes on to say, “these two modes of thinking, economic and social, were inextricably linked, and the conceptualization of the merchant provides a neat example of the combined effect.” Though the Antwerp market “retained distinct features of “medieval” economic conventions,” it was shifting towards something different and this led to the function of the merchant changing too which had implications for the art market.
Photograph of Antwerp.
|Abraham Janssens, Scaldis and Antwerpia, Oil on panel, 174 x 308 cm, Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp.|
|Lucas van Valkenborch, View of Antwerp with the Frozen Schelde, 1590, Oil on wood, 42,5 x 63,5 cm, Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt.|
The Art Market in Antwerp.
According to the Italian merchant Guiccardini, there were three hundred artists active in Antwerp by the middle of the sixteenth-century. This resulted in a rich variety of styles and genres: landscape, still-life, and scenes from everyday-life. But perhaps it is scenes of markets: heaps of food, vegetables, meat, and fish that could qualify as an Antwerp speciality. The market in Antwerp has been called “the first showroom in postclassical Europe to be constructed expressly for the exhibition and sale of works of art.” Our Lady’s “Pand” (covered market) was a courtyard in the ground of the Church of Our Lady, later the cathedral of Antwerp. The Pand was rented to art merchants during biennial trade fairs, and stalls were occupied by painters, sculptors, joiners and booksellers. This sheltered market grew and grew, and with the establishment of the Antwerp Exchange, the city became a centre of cultural and financial activity. Unfortunately, the “New Bourse” put the Pand out of business and ushered in the era of modern capital with pictures becoming swept up in the whirlwind of trade and commerce. Things slowed down with the revolt of the Northern provinces in 1570 however, with Antwerp riven by religious factionalism between Catholics and Calvinists. Life became calmer with the advent of the Archduke Albert and his consort Isabella (Rubens’s patrons) during which a truce was engineered between 1609-21. This encouraged the recovery of the art market and ushered in a new era for Northern art marked by a roll call of illustrious names like Rubens, Van Dyck, Jordaens, Snyders, Jan Breughel the Elder- the second generation of Antwerp painters. Building on the success of the first generation, Pieter Bruegel, Aertsen, Beuckelaer, the Valkenborchs and others, this cohort of artists benefited from the market in luxury goods produced by this lull in hostilities.
Cornelis de Baellieur, Interior of a Collector's Gallery of Paintings and Objets d'Art, 1637, Oil on wood, 93 x 123 cm, Musée du Louvre, Paris.
Jan Breughel the Elder, Great Fish-Market, 1603, Oil on panel, 59 x 92 cm, Alte Pinakothek, Munich.
Peter Paul Rubens, Samson & Delilah, c. 1609, Oil on wood, 185 x 205 cm, National Gallery, London.
|Osias Beert, Still-Life with Oysters and Pastries, 1610, Oil on copper, 46,6 x 66 cm, Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart.|
Bruegel and Aertsen: An Early Modern Opposition.
As Honig has said, it is the Amsterdam painter Pieter Aertsen who demonstrates how the “categories” of painting and the market could be brought together. Drawing on the famous study of Dutch portraiture by Alois Riegl which claimed that Aertsen’s paintings of the market reflected a Protestant, Germanic attitude where the individual took responsibilities for their own actions, she has demonstrated the usefulness of Riegl when thinking about the art market in Antwerp in the early modern period. According to Riegl, this shift occurred at a time of “violent rejection of religious art,” but it also betrayed a transition in attitudes towards economic thought and social relations. This is a tempting theory, but as Honig says, Riegl’s comparison of Aertsen and Bruegel should be treated with caution since it aligns Bruegel with “strong Catholicism” and Aertsen with “an anachronistic Dutch sensibility.” Despite that problem, if the opposition between Bruegel and Aertsen is reconsidered in economic rather than religious terms, it helps us to see why Aertsen rather than Bruegel reveals more about painting and the early modern economy in both Antwerp and Amsterdam. Aertsen’s Dutch portraits with their new subjectivity designed to draw in the viewer have parallels with the way that customers are attracted by goods in a market. But in contrast, the Flemish painter of peasants, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, conveyed the medieval idea of brotherly love, social responsibility, justice, which was all severely undermined by the capitalist way which put individuals in a context of buying and selling, not mutual cooperation as in pre-capitalist societies. And it is clear that Bruegel in such works as Big Fish eat Little Fishes viewed the new mercantilist era with scepticism; Aertsen on the other hand welcomed the appearance of nascent capitalism as it held abundant possibilities for the furtherance of not only his own artistic career, but other members of his family in Antwerp, like his nephew Joachim Beuckelaer.
|Pieter Aertsen, Meat Stall, 1551, oil on panel, 124 x 169 cm, Museum Gustavianum, Uppsala.|
|Pieter Aertsen, Market Scene, Oil on oak wood, 91 x 112 cm, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna.|
Pieter Breughel the Elder, "Big Fishes Eat Little Fishes," 1556, print, British Museum, London.
|Pieter Aertsen Market Woman with Fruit, Vegetables and Poultry, 1564, Oil on oak, 118 x 171 cm, Staatliche Museen, Kassel|
Christ Goes to Market: The Ecce Homo Pictures.
To appreciate the links between painting, religion, and the early modern market it is necessary is to study a group of pictures that show the incident of Christ Shown to the People by Pontius Pilate - the subject of the Ecce Homo (Behold the Man). In northern European art, Christ was shown in the centre of a city flanked by public buildings lending the subject something of a civic aspect. The earliest example is the Dutch master engraver Lucas van der Leyden who in his etching of 1610 places Christ high upon a platform in the middle of a town square. Many later artists were influenced by this including Rembrandt, who owned copies of Lucas’s prints and produced a drypoint of the same subject. Lucas’s townscapes with Christ and Pilate influenced the pictorial tradition in Antwerp; but as Honig has observed, artists in that city placed the Ecce Homo in the context of a market. Its origins are probably to be found in the Ecce Homo painted by the so- called Brunswick Monogrammatist who shows the Ecce Homo in a civic setting, municipal buildings, monuments, raised platforms, but shows at the left a market being set out by tradespeople. Aertsen himself would adopt this theme and play certain variations on it; for example, occasionally, he’d substitute imaginary structures for recognisable, mundane ones. Later Beuckelaer would take the “Christ in a market” theme further, perhaps as an “exercise in realism” though this was not realism in the art historical sense, but a vehicle for opening up perspectives on “certain realities” containing religious, economic and erotic themes.  A question to be posed here is this: did these Antwerp artists use the Ecce Homo in a commercial setting as a vehicle for moralising about the practice of trading in holy or religious spaces, or did their concerns lie elsewhere? 
|Follower of Joachim Beuckelaer, Ecce Homo in a Market-place, oil on panel, 126.5 x 182 cm, Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum.|
|Brunswick Monogrammatist, Ecce Homo, 1530s, oil on panel, 55 x 89.5 cm, Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum.|
|Lucas van Leyden, Ecce Homo, 1510, engraving, Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum.|
|Joachim Beuckelaer, The Well-Stocked Kitchen, 1566, oil on canvas, 171 x 250 cm, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.|
Beholding Food & Class in Beuckelaer
Unlike his uncle, Joachim Beuckelaer was born in Antwerp though he painted in the same genre: market and kitchen scenes, with interpolated biblical content. It is highly likely that both uncle and nephew developed their work in parallel resulting in a successful and durable formula for showing farmers, servants, vegetable, and meat sellers in their place of work. But eventually Beuckelaer seems to have edged himself forward of his relative and refined the formula by showing produce directly in the foreground; this turns the viewer into a kind of inspector of the goods on sale- a beholder of the market. Such a viewer might be the servant of an eminent noble sent to market to buy large amounts of food for preparation for a banquet or dinner party. A number of figures in early modern representations of the market seem to perform this function, though women who are obviously elevated above the rank of a servant appear too. Such a type appears in Beuckelaer’s Four Elements series (acquired by the London NG in 2001). Here a lady dressed in gray and black stands at the back contemplating the viewer with less self-consciousness than the vendors in the foreground. She might easily belong to the class that owned Beuckelaer’s paintings: “an educated elite, often Catholic, and often with good cause to think about their behaviour in economic terms.” Some of Beuckelaer’s patrons were even wealthy Italian nobles, and his paintings of food in marketplaces and kitchens was imitated by Italian artists like the Campi from Cremona.
|Joachim Beuckelaer, The Four Elements: Air, 1570, Oil on canvas, 157 x 214 cm, National Gallery, London.|
|Joachim Beuckelaer, The Four Elements: Water, 1569, Oil on canvas, 159 x 215 cm, National Gallery, London.|
|Joachim Beuckelaer, Woman Selling Vegetables, Oil on canvas, 110 x 160 cm, Rockox House, Antwerp.|
Patrons, Pictures & Food.
The kind of people who ate the food in the markets depicted by Beuckelaer may also have put his pictures on their walls. We get a sense of what such dining rooms would have looked like by consulting pictures showing patrons eating at table, usually in rooms ornamented with paintings and other types of art. Thus in Frans Francken’s Supper at the House of the alderman Nicolaas Rockox we see a supper party in progress; pictures hang in the dining room, such as Rubens’s Samson and Delilah which was commissioned by Rocox between 1609-10. What is noticeable is that in many of these cabinet pictures, or pictures of connoisseurs’ galleries, the market picture does not seem to be present. Initially, such pictures may have hung in rooms where meals were prepared, hence they became known as “kitchens.” But we need to make a distinction between scenes of people showing food on market stalls and pictures where we see food arranged in various arrays and patterns next to glasses, utensils, flowers etc- the genre known as still-life. At the start of the century food appeared in abundance in paintings by artists such as Osias Beert and Rubens’s pupil Frans Synders both of whom specialised in still- life, which in Antwerp, had evolved from Aertsen and Beuckelaer’s images of goods at market. Yet, the situation is more complex since still-life and food painting overlap. In Beert’s 1608 Still-Life with Cherries and Strawberries china bowls, we are looking at the last or penultimate course of an eight-course banquet. And this is also a vanitas picture as Beert includes decaying strawberries and a dragonfly which may both symbolises the fragility and transience of earthly things. A cork merchant as well as an artist, paintings of oysters was his specialities. Such food-scenes were also convincingly rendered by Snyders, though he also painted market scenes which puts him at the end of a tradition stretching back to Beuckelaer and Aertsen. However, Snyders is not well known for market scenes; he mainly painted game pictures, still-life and other inanimate genres. His series of four market scenes in the Hermitage were probably done for the patron, Jacques van Ophem, a member of a distinguished Brussels family and a regulator of commerce in Antwerp.
|Frans Francken II, Supper at the House of Burgomaster Rockox, 1630-35, Oil on panel, 62 x 97 cm, Alte Pinakothek, Munich.|
|Osias Beert, Still-Life with Cherries and Strawberries in China Bowls, 1608, Oil on copper, 50 x 66 cm, Staatliche Museen, Berlin.|
|Frans Francken II, Sebastiaan Leerse in his Gallery, Oil on panel, 77 x 114 cm, Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp.|
|Frans Snyders, Fruit Stall, 1618-21, Oil on canvas, 206 x 342 cm, The Hermitage, St. Petersburg.|
1) Photograph of Antwerp.
2) Lucas van Valkenborch, View of Antwerp with the Frozen Schelde, 1590, Oil on wood, 42,5 x 63,5 cm, Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt.
3) Joos de Momper, Winter Landscape with the Flight into Egypt, Oil on oak panel, 69 x 115 cm, Private collection.
4) Abraham Janssens, Scaldis and Antwerpia, Oil on panel, 174 x 308 cm, Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp.
5) Lucas van Valkenborch, Meat & Fish Market (Winter), 1595, oil on canvas, 123 x 191, Private Collection.
6) Cornelis de Baellieur, Gallery of a Collector, c. 1635, Oil on oak, 115 x 148 cm, Residenzgalerie, Salzburg.
7) Cornelis de Baellieur, Interior of a Collector's Gallery of Paintings and Objets d'Art, 1637, Oil on wood, 93 x 123 cm, Musée du Louvre, Paris.
8) Frans Synders, Concert of Birds, 1630s, Oil on canvas, 137 x 240 cm, The Hermitage, St. Petersburg.
9) Osias Beert, Still-Life with Oysters and Pastries, 1610, Oil on copper, 46,6 x 66 cm, Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart.
10) Willem van Haecht, Gallery of Cornelis van der Gheest, 1628, oil on panel, 100 x 130 cm, Rubenshuis, Antwerp.
11) Detail: possibly lost Jan van Eyck painting.
12) Jan Breughel the Elder, Great Fish-Market, 1603, Oil on panel, 59 x 92 cm, Alte Pinakothek, Munich.
13) Pieter Aertsen, Meat Stall, 1551, oil on panel, 124 x 169 cm, Museum Gustavianum, Uppsala.
14) Pieter Aertsen Market Woman with Fruit, Vegetables and Poultry, 1564, Oil on oak, 118 x 171 cm, Staatliche Museen, Kassel
15) Pieter Aertsen, Market Scene, Oil on oak wood, 91 x 112 cm, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna.
16) Pieter Breughel the Elder, Big Fishes Eat Little Fishes, 1556, print, British Museum, London.
17) Follower of Joachim Beuckelaer, Ecce Homo in a Market-place, oil on panel, 126.5 x 182 cm, Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum.
18) Brunswick Monogrmmatist, Ecce Homo, 1530s, oil on panel, 55 x 89.5 cm, Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum.
19) Lucas van Leyden, Ecce Homo, 1510, engraving, Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum.
20) Hieronymous Bosch, Ecce Homo, c. 1480-85, oil on panel, Frankfurt, Städelsches, Kunstinstitut.
21) Rembrandt van Rhyn, Christ Presented to the People (Ecce Homo), 1655, drypoint, 35.6 x 45.2 cm, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
22) Joachim Beuckelaer, The Well-Stocked Kitchen, 1566, oil on canvas, 171 x 250 cm, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.
23) Joachim Beuckelaer, The Four Elements: Air, 1570, Oil on canvas, 157 x 214 cm, National Gallery, London.
24) Joachim Beuckelaer, The Four Elements: Water, 1569, Oil on canvas, 159 x 215 cm, National Gallery, London.
25) Vincenzo Campi, Fruit Seller, c. 1580, Oil on canvas, 145 x 215 cm, Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan.
26) Joachim Beuckelaer, Woman Selling Vegetables, Oil on canvas, 110 x 160 cm, Rockox House, Antwerp
27) Frans Francken II, Supper at the House of Burgomaster Rockox, 1630-35, Oil on panel, 62 x 97 cm, Alte Pinakothek, Munich.
28) Peter Paul Rubens, Samson & Delilah, c. 1609, Oil on wood, 185 x 205 cm, National Gallery, London.
29) Paulus Pontius, Portrait of Nicolaas Rockox, 1639, Copperplate engraving, 360 x 320 mm, Rockox House, Antwerp.
30) Frans Francken II, Sebastiaan Leerse in his Gallery, Oil on panel, 77 x 114 cm, Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp
31) Otto Beert, Still-Life with Cherries and Strawberries in China Bowls, 1608, Oil on copper, 50 x 66 cm, Staatliche Museen, Berlin.
32) Frans Snyders, Still-Life with Game, 1641-42, Oil on canvas, 141 x 210 cm, Private collection. 
33) Frans Snyders, Fish Stall, 1618-21, Oil on canvas, 210 x 341 cm, The Hermitage, St. Petersburg.
34) Frans Snyders, Fruit Stall, 1618-21, Oil on canvas, 206 x 342 cm, The Hermitage, St. Petersburg
 For a brief summary of Antwerp’s importance as a commercial centre, see Maarten Prak’s The Dutch Republic in the Seventeenth Century: The Golden Age, trans. Diane Webb, (Cambridge University Press, 2005), 95-96.
 By far the best introduction to painting and economics in early modern Antwerp is Elizabeth Alice Honig, Painting & the Market in Early Modern Antwerp (Yale University Press, 1998), 4: “In the course of the sixteenth-century, capitalism emerged as the dominant, indeed the only mode of social organization of the economy; earlier modes of production persisted, but only insofar as they fit into a socio-political framework rooted in capitalism. The entire known world was united as a market within this all-embracing system of commerce. During the second and third quarters of the century, Antwerp held the undisputed place as the center of this new commercial world.”
 The great French economic historian Braudel noted Antwerp “…was an economic innocent: other people came knocking at the door, moved in and made a fortune for her…The city did not struggle to reach the visible pinnacle of the world, but woke up one morning to find itself there.” Cited in Honig, Painting & the Market, 4.
 On the English Merchant Adventurers, see Robert Brenner, Merchants & Revolution: Commercial Change, Political Conflict & London’s Overseas Traders, (Verso), 52f. English trade with Antwerp was disrupted due to the revival of English trade with Turkey in the 1570s.
 As Honig observes, problems with the Antwerp market began early. In the late 1540s the Portuguese had taken their spice trade elsewhere; and the Spanish went bankrupt in 1557, Honig Painting & the Market, 103. .
 Honig, Painting & the Market, 7. One is reminded of Ruskin’s essay, “The Roots of Honour” here: “Five great intellectual professions, relating to daily necessities of life, have hitherto existed- three exist necessarily, in every civilized nation:
The Soldier's profession is to defend it.
The Pastor's to teach it.
The Physician's to keep it in good health
The Lawyer's to enforce justice in it.
The Merchant's to provide for it.
 Ewing, cited in Jonathan Brown, Kings and Connoisseurs: Collecting Art in Seventeenth-Century Europe (Yale University Press, 1995), 149.
 Honig, Painting & the Market “No longer did artists need to rely upon employment by the court or on commissions for works destined for churches, convents, or hospitals; instead, their challenge was to produce works that would attract the eye and open the purse of some willing buyer.”
 Alois Riegl, Das holländische Gruppenportrait, 1902, 2 vols, Vienna. Translated as The Group Portraiture of Holland, (Getty Institute, 1999), 166. See also Keith Moxey, Pieter Aertsen, Joachim Beuckelaer, and the rise of secular painting in the context of the Reformation, (Garland, 1977).
 Honig, Painting & the Market, 23.
 For a discussion of this, its changes and the possible iconographic and thematic reasons for them, see Perlove and Silver, Rembrandt’s Faith, 285f.
 Honig, Painting and the Market, 63f.
 Honig, Painting and the Market, 66.
 Honig (ibid) identifies three “paradigms” for this new handling of the Ecce Homo: “the market as a site of commerce; the market as a site of theatre; and the market as a site of justice.” Where Beuckelaer is concerned she says: “By developing both the serious and the licentious sides of the marketplace, and by leaving the boundaries between them ambiguous, Beuckelaer’s paintings leave a great deal of the ultimate judgment to the beholder of the spectacle.”
 See Larry Silver’s discussion in Peasant Scenes and Landscapes: The Rise of Pictorial Genres in Antwerp, 99f
 On the definition of “beholder” in this context and the problems associated with it, Honig, Painting and the Market, 90f.
 On Beuckelaer and the dinner party, see Claudia Goldstein, Pieter Bruegel and the Early Modern Dinner Party, (Ashgate, 2013).
 Honig, Painting and the Market, 88.
 The Farnese owned seven of Beuckelaer’s Flemish market scenes, which were displayed in the Palazzo del Giardino at Parma; these may have served as a way of disseminating his paintings to Lombard artists like the Campi, Goldstein, Pieter Bruegel and the Early Modern Dinner Party, 141.
 “The link that does exist between market scenes and still-life is entirely circumstantial: that is, it only occurs when ideals about the viewing, exchange, and possession of objects have been invested by society- with a particular significance. This occurred only in seventeenth-century Antwerp and was fully worked out by one painter, Frans Synders, Honig, Painting and the Market, 162.
 In the words of Honig: “..an official regulator of commerce in Antwerp who eventually won letters of nobility from Philip IV.” “Van Ophem thus typifies the successful seventeenth-century social climber, achieving aristocratic status through the paradoxical strategy of denying his family’s roots in business by becoming a government regulator of business, Painting and the Market, 158.
 Valckenborch (or Valkenborch, or Valkenborgh), family of Netherlandish landscape and genre painters. The family was originally from Leuven but was one of many families who, for political or religious reasons, left the Spanish-occupied southern Netherlands and settled in the more tolerant German imperial cities, particularly Frankfurt am Main, where they often strongly influenced artistic developments. Of the 14 known painters in the family, only Marten van Valckenborch I, his brother Lucas van Valckenborch I and Marten's sons Frederik van Valckenborch and Gillis (Egidius) van Valckenborch have so far been identified as significant from surviving works. Lucas joined the Mechelen Guild in 1560 and in 1565 was in Antwerp. He married and had a son, Marten van Valckenborch II (b before 1566; d Vienna, 1597), also a painter, before fleeing to Liège to avoid persecution (he was a Protestant) in 1566 and then to Aachen, where his brother Marten I had settled. In 1574-5 Lucas returned to Antwerp and, in 1579, became court painter to the Habsburg archduke, Matthias, governor of the Spanish Netherlands in Brussels from 1577 to 1582 and later Emperor (reg 1612–19). He accompanied Archduke Matthias to Linz before settling in Frankfurt in 1593.Lucas worked in the Bruegel tradition, and favoured the subject of the Tower of Babel. He also painted series of the Seasons, and his winter scenes are especially notable.
 Josse de Momper II was the leading member of an Antwerp family of artists and dealers. He was trained by his father, but he probably went to Italy in the 1580s, in which case he would have seen the Alps: he lived in Antwerp, but his works are invariably of great mountains, sometimes influenced by Bruegel, and they form a transition between Mannerist landscape and the realistic type developed in the Netherlands in the 17th century, e.g. by van Goyen. His pictures usually have blue mountains in the background, with a yellowish-green middle distance and a darker foreground peopled by small figures, often painted by Momper himself. Attribution is difficult because of the other members of the family who worked in a similar style. There are several works in Vaduz (Liechtenstein Collection) and four Seasons in Brunswick; others are in Amsterdam, Antwerp, Berlin, Manchester (Whitworth) and Oxford.
 Janssens was in Rome in 1598 and back in Antwerp by 1601. A second visit to Italy seems likely, for although in 1601 he was painting in a Mannerist style (Diana and Callisto, Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest), by 1909 (Scaldis and Antwerpia, Musée Royal, Antwerp) his work had become much more solid, sober, and classical, suggesting close knowledge of Caravaggio in particular. For the next decade Janssens was one of the most powerful and individual painters in Flanders, but during the 1620s his work became less remarkable as he fell under the all-pervasive influence of Rubens. His pupils included Gerard Seghers and Theodoor Rombouts.
 Cornelis was apprenticed to Anton Lisaert in 1617. According to Van den Branden, only nine years later did he become a master in the Antwerp Guild of St Luke, of which he was dean in 1644-45. His son, of the same name, also became a painter, but there is no concrete evidence of his work. Cornelis de Baellieur the Elder was a painter of small figures and was closely associated with Frans Francken II; he may even have worked in his studio. The only known signed and dated work by de Baellieur is the Interior of a Collector's Cabinet. This picture, which depicts a sumptuously decorated interior with visitors admiring the oil paintings and objets d'art, confirms the skill of this little-known artist. The influence of Francken is evident in de Baellieur's frequently signed biblical paintings, for example Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery (Dresden, Gemäldegalerie and Brunswick, Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum), the Idolatry of Solomon (Innsbruck, Schloss Ambras) and the Adoration of the Magi (Brussels, Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts). Nevertheless, de Baellieur's figures are striking for their meticulous quality. It is impossible, however, to assess how highly his contemporaries regarded him, owing to the lack of source material. To the modern viewer, his compositions appear somewhat garish, since in his biblical paintings he favoured juxtapositions of whitish-yellow, violet and pink tones. His style is easily recognizable: stereotypical figures with doll-like faces, slightly protruding eyes and steeply sloping shoulders.
 Willem was the son of the landscape painter Tobias Verhaecht, the first teacher of Rubens. Willem grew up in a cultivated milieu of art and humanism and was taught to paint by his father. In 1615 he went to Paris, where he stayed until 1619; thereafter he travelled to Italy and in 1626-27 returned to Antwerp, where he became a master in the city's Guild of St Luke. By 1628 he was employed by the patron, collector and amateur Cornelis van der Geest as curator of his collection, a post he held until his death.
 Snyders was the most noted 17th-century painter of hunting scenes and animals in combat. He studied under Pieter Brueghel the Younger, and afterward under Hendrik van Balen. He visited Italy in 1608. In 1611 he married Margaretha de Vos, the sister of the Flemish painters Cornelis and Paul de Vos. Snyders originally devoted himself to painting flowers, fruit, and still-life subjects, later turning to his lively depictions of animals. The compositions of these scenes of hunting and animals fighting are rich and varied. His drawing is accurate and vigorous, and his touch bold and thoroughly expressive of the different textures of furs and skins. Rubens frequently employed him to paint animals, fruit, and still-life objects in his own pictures. Snyders was appointed principal painter to the archduke Albert, governor of the Low Countries, for whom he executed some of his finest works. One of these, a "Stag Hunt," was presented to Philip III of Spain, who commissioned the artist to paint several subjects of the chase.