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Adrianssen, Alexander van

Antwerp, 1587 - Antwerp (Belgium), 1661

This Flemish painter from an artistic family studied with his father, composer Emanuel Adrianssen and his two brothers, painters Vicente and Nicolaes Adrianssen. After training with Artus van Laeck he earned the title of Master at the Painters' Guild in 1610, and specialized in still lifes. In 1632, he accepted Painter Philips Milcx as a disciple. Signed works by him are known from as early as 1623, although his most fecund period began in 1635, when he painted the coats of arms of the Low Countries' seventeen provinces for the temporary decorations erected for the cardinal-infante's arrival in Antwerp. Most of his works are still lifes depicting food on a table accompanied by various copper objects, elegant crystal goblets or vases of flowers. He also made a few curiously scarce depictions of garlands with figures. From very early in his career, his paintings follow a single scheme consisting of an asymmetrical diagonal composition in which the motives appear, one above another, on various planes. His colors are usually very sober, even reaching a certain degree of monochromatism that combines with a soft, balanced lighting to produce a sense of chiaroscuro. Thus, his paintings belong to the category of monochrome banquets that were much in vogue in Flemish painting at that time, yet they are clearly influenced, as well, by the Dutch Haarlem School, with which his work has been closely related. Some of his motives are borrowed from the pictorial repertoire of Frans Snyders, including artichokes, birds, and especially live cats. However, his works are quite personal and vivid, thanks to his skill at conveying the tactile aspects of the elements they depict, including the freshness of fish and oysters or the transparency of metal and glass objects. That quality made his work attractive to collectors of his time. The four still lifes by his hand at the Museo del Prado were a present from Philip IV to the Marquis of Leganés, one of the first Spaniards to take an interest in Adrianssen's painting (Pérez Preciado, J. J. in Enciclopedia del Museo Nacional del Prado, vol. II, pp. 334-335).

Artworks (4)

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