Jacob Jordaens

Jacobjordaens %282%29

Jacob Jordaens I is an Antwerp painter, draftsman and tapestry designer. He is a student of the painter Adam van Noort (1562-1641), from whom Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) also receives instruction.

Of the illustrious trio from the Baroque in the Southern Netherlands (along with Rubens and Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641)), Jacob Jordaens is the least well known relatively speaking and the least studied and least influential. Jordaens is viewed for a long time as an epigone of Rubens, however, that is an incorrect premise. Although his presence in Rubens' studio is not confirmed in archives, many art historians see him as a student of Rubens. It is a fact that the artist completes commissions for Rubens via subcontracting.

Jordaens' commissioners come primarily, though not exclusively, from rich patricians. Very few commissions are from the nobility circle. Jordaens himself is never promoted to nobility either. After the death of Rubens in 1640, Jordaens becomes the most important painter in Antwerp. The many commissions, also from church patrons, as a consequence have an increase in the loss of quality and especially studio work, amongst which are replicas of his popular genre pieces.

Rubens exerts a strong and lasting influence on the art of Jordaens. Among other things, it is via Rubens that Jordaens learns the style of Caravaggio, which is done with a notable chiaroscuro by which he models his figures and saturated colours. Jordaens is a proponent of paintings with many figures, though he does not possess great compositional talent. He goes about the rules of perspective in his own way.

Jordaens knows how to combine art with popular, folk cultural related elements with the more elevated art of history painting. The folk angle sometimes borders on the caricature with personages that are very effusive. His art is clearly less idealised than that of Rubens and van Dyck.

The artist is known for his densely populated compositions and genre pieces that are painted on a monumental scale, such as The King Drinks and The old Folks sing, the young Folks chirp. Because of such genre pieces, all too often people identify the painter with the art of genre painting. Though Jordaens also does not enjoy the Humanistic education such as Rubens, nor did he ever go to the Italian peninsula to study the ancients, he does, however, complete a substantial number of mythological works. In addition to being a genre specialist, Jordaens is also an exceptional portraitist, landscape painter, history painter and tapestry designer.

Jacob Jordaens I is a wealthy and successful artist who lives a long life. His career is long and his oeuvre is diverse.

(Text: Matthias Depoorter, 2018)

Items View all

Events View all