JAN FRANS VAN BLOEMEN, called ORIZZONTE
(Antwerp 1662 – 1749 Rome)
Landscape with Arcadian Figures
Oil on canvas, 19 5/8 x 29 inches (49.9 x 73.7 cm)
Purchased in Belgium, 1950s (as by Poussin)
Private collection, New York, 1950s to present
Orizzonte is best known for his Italian countryside scenes, but his early training was in Flemish landscape painting. While still fairly young, he moved to Rome, where he was inspired to paint the city and surrounding area in much the same way as his predecessors Gaspard Dughet (also known as Poussin) and Claude Lorrain, two artists whose work directly inspired Orizzonte’s. Although he was not accepted into the prestigious Roman Accademia di San Luca until he was over 70 years old (likely due to the disparaging view taken at the time toward landscape painting’s place in the artistic hierarchy), many Roman patrons embraced his work, and he was quite celebrated during his lifetime.
Orizzonte’s signature paintings are sweeping pastoral landscapes viewed from afar; scenes of peaceful Arcadian hills and valleys that extend outward toward the vistas for which he earned his moniker, which is Italian for “horizon.” The present picture is no exception. In this beautiful countryside scene the figures, in typical Orizzonte style, are sketchily painted and quite small, in spite of the fact that they are placed in the foreground. The true subject of the painting is not the four peasants, but the idyllic setting under the open blue sky.
The attribution of the present painting to Jan Frans van Bloemen called Orizzonte, was confirmed in 2011 by Dr. Giancarlo Sestieri.