Lucas van Uden & Frans Francken II

Lucas van Uden & Frans Francken II

Artists: Lucas van Uden (Flemish 1595-1672) & Frans Francken II (Flemish 1581-1672)

Title: ‘View on Antwerp‘

Size: 96,5 x 151,5 cm (37,9 x 59,6 inch)

Material: oil on canvas

Inventory #: 438LUF2

 

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Lucas van Uden was born in Antwerp as the son of Artus van Uden and Joanna Tranoy. His father was Antwerp's city painter, a position which required him to paint the City's buildings and refurbish and gild the statues of the city and the pieces used in the ommegang. Lucas had a brother Jacob who also became a landscape painter. Lucas likely studied with his father as he was never registered with the Guild of Saint Luke as a pupil. He registered only as a master at the Guild in the capacity of a 'wijnmeester' (master's son') in 1626–27 when he was already 32 years old.

 

Lucas had an extramarital relationship with Agatha Musson. She gave birth on 24 October 1620 to a son who was named Lucas. On 14 February 1627 Lucas van Uden married Anna van Woelput with whom he had 8 children, two of whom were born before the couple had married. Lucas had another illegitimate child with Willemijntje van den Brande in 1630.

 

He was active in Antwerp for most of his life except for a period around 1649 when he was recorded as no longer living in the city. He was very successful and could live very comfortably in central Antwerp.

 

He was the teacher of Jan Baptist Bonnecroy, Philips Augustijn Immenraet and Gillis Neyts. He likely also trained his children. His daughter Maria van Uden became a painter and married the painter Charles Emmanuel Biset. His son Adriaen was also active in Antwerp as a painter.

He died in Antwerp in 1672.

 

Work

 

Lucas van Uden was principally a landscape painter. Some of his landscapes were winter landscapes such as the Winter Landscape with Hunters (private collection).

 

Although he was never part of Peter Paul Rubens' studio, his works are partly indebted to that leading Antwerp master. His technique with its attention to detail, particularly in his smaller works, and his search for decorative elements in the larger paintings place him in the same tradition as Jan Brueghel the Elder and Joos de Momper. The contrast between areas with dark and cold colours with warm colours in his work also calls to mind the work of Jan Brueghel the Elder and Joos de Momper. General characteristics of is work are a tonally-green recessive view punctuated by slender trees and populated by incidental pastoral and peasant figures. His compositions are usually built up as follows: in the foreground there is a bank with leafy trees, one of which is inclined in order to break the monotony and lead the view of the spectator towards the center of the composition, in which appear as the main motive groups of trees, fields or villages, which are shown cut out against a background of mountains, lacking any dramatic allusion.

 

While his landscape paintings are rather schematic, his drawings which were reportedly made directly from nature are more spontaneous and realistic and display his true talent.

 

Van Uden is known to have collaborated with David Teniers the Younger and Jan Brueghel the Younger who painted the staffage in his landscapes. An example is the Villagers having a meal (Prado, Madrid), a collaboration with David Teniers the Younger.

 

Van Uden is often associated with fellow landscape painter Jan Wildens who frequently collaborated with Rubens. However, unlike for Wildens, there is no evidence van Uden ever painted the landscapes for Rubens. Rubens also never added the staffage to van Uden's landscapes. Van Uden made various copies of Rubens' compositions such as the Landscape with a rainbow (Kunsthistorisches Museum), which is a copy of Rubens' Landscape with a rainbow in the Hermitage.

 

Lucas van Uden produced many etchings some of which are part of the collections of the Rijksmuseum and the British Museum. Some of his designs were also etched by his pupil Philips Augustijn Immenraet.

 

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Frans Francken the Younger is the best-known member of an extended artistic family that worked in Antwerp from the late sixteenth to the late seventeenth century. Born in 1581, he almost certainly studied with his father, Frans Francken the Elder (c. 1542-1616), before becoming a master in the Antwerp Saint Luke's Guild in 1605. In 1615/1616 he served as its deken. In 1627 he became a member of the Antwerp militia company De Oude Handboog.

 

Francken was an extremely productive and imaginative artist who specialized in expressively rendered small-scale religious and mythological scenes. He also painted larger altarpieces for Catholic churches. His depictions of collectors' cabinets introduced a genre of painting that influenced a number of artists, including Jan Brueghel the Elder and David Teniers the Younger. Francken ran a large and productive workshop, where he was assisted by a number of pupils, including his sons Frans III (1607-1667), Hieronymus III (1611-after 1661), and Ambrosius III (c. 1614-1662). Also active in his studio were his brothers Thomas (1574-c. 1626), Hieronymus the Younger (1578-1623), and Ambrosius the Younger (c. 1590-1632). Francken painted many works for the art dealer Christian van Immerzeel, who sold them to Spanish collectors.

 

Francken frequently collaborated with other artists. For example, he painted figures in landscapes by Abraham Govaerts (1589-1626) and Joos de Momper II (1564-1635) and in architectural scenes by Bartholomeus van Bassen (c. 1560-1652) and Peeter Neeffs the Elder. He also collaborated with flower painters, among them Jan Brueghel the Elder, Jan Brueghel the Younger (1601-1678), and Andries Danielsz (active c. 1600-1625).

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