Flemish school of the 17th century. Orpheus charming the animals
Oil on panel 78 cm by 50 cm
Old frame 86 cm by 58 cm
With the myth of Orpheus, the painters of the Flemish Renaissance renew with always sumptuous imagery, the representation of paradise at the same time as they pay homage to ancient Greece. Velvet Brueghel, the Saverys, the Boutats and their students represent the beauty of creation by painting a magnificent nature populated by animals, all of which exudes great harmony. Animals have always been portrayed with finesse since naturalists and explorers have returned from their journeys rich in memories and sketches. Animal beauty is now known and it fascinates. At the same time we wonder if animals have a conscience (Montaigne's essays), if they feel joy, pain... thus in many of these paintings we discover animals endowed with various expressions well human, which contributes, beyond the naturalistic perfection, to the enchantment of these works. Our research leads us around the Savery brothers.
Roelandt Savery (1576; 1639)
Roelandt Savery was born in 1576 in Courtrai, Flanders, into a family of Mennonite painters. Following the Spanish occupation, he moved to Bruges in 1580 and then to Haarlem around 1585. According to Van Mander, Savery trained with his brother, the painter Jacob Savery, and the two artists moved to Amsterdam in 1591. After the death of his brother, Savery moved to Prague. where it is documented in 1604. He worked there as a court painter in the service of the German emperors, at the court of Rudolf II where he studied his menagerie of exotic animals. He paints pelicans, ostriches, camels, and even the dodo, an extinct animal. He is the first Flemish painter to offer single animals. Between 1606 and 1608, he traveled on the instructions of the Emperor in the Tyrol where he carried out numerous topographical surveys. It is known that during his stay in Prague, Savery maintained close contact with other northern painters such as Bartolomeus Spranger and Hans van Aachen. After a brief stay in Amsterdam and Haarlem, he settled permanently in Utrecht in 1616. His nephew Hans Savery II settled with him and became his main assistant. He bought a large medieval house in 1621 which became the meeting place for artists from Utrecht: Balthazar van der Alst and the Boschaerts in particular, flower painters who particularly appreciated the magnificent flower garden of the house. After his death his nephew Hans Savery II took over the workshop.