Oil on panel, 65 cm by 50 cm
Old frame, 77 cm by 62 cm
Our painting is another version of the one owned by the Louvre, Landscape with Marauding Soldiers (1569, Louvre ). The subject is identical but the work is treated differently with a completely different landscape. As for the characters in the foreground, they are the same except that they are dressed differently. The artist evokes an episode of the wars of religion which shelled all the 16th century. Here we see peasants who seem to take revenge on soldiers who are certainly guilty of having burned down their village. It is an oil on unparqueted panel, composed of two oak planks which bear the marks of the pannier and the guild of Antwerp on the back.
Gillis Mostaert the Elder (1528; 1598)
Flemish painter and draftsman active in Antwerp in the second half of the 16th century. He is a versatile artist who works in various genres including landscape, genre and history painting. Gillis Mostaert is known in particular for his winter landscapes, his scenes of often nocturnal fires which were among his most sought-after works of his time. Which is still the case today. The artist ran a large studio in Antwerp which supplied works to prominent patrons. He signed few of his paintings. Mostaert. He seems to have worked mainly for private clients to whom he provided images in a wide range of subjects, market, fair and village scenes, allegories of the four seasons, winter and snow landscapes, scenes of war, hell and burning houses, religious subjects as well as parables and allegories. Mostaert is believed to have played an important role in the development of genre and landscape art in Antwerp, through his scenes illustrating the activities of contemporary people by means of the many small figures in his compositions. Mostaert's "fire paintings" were listed in the inventories of important collectors in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. Scenes depicting the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and the burning of villages at night gave the artist an opportunity to show his skill in rendering the effects of light and fire. One of his masterpieces in this genre is the Landscape with marauding soldiers (1569, Louvre), another version of the painting that we offer you. This composition offers a night view of a landscape with a river and at least 8 fire sources stretching across the entire horizon. The fires were likely started by soldiers, some of whom are attacked by villagers in retaliation. The villagers seem to have taken over the soldiers, some of whom with their companions are represented in the foreground lying on the ground under the threat of being killed. Loot including shiny pots and pans and faggots is likely to be scavenged by villagers.