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Wtewael, Joachim

Utrecht, 1566 - Utrecht, 1638

According to his mentor, the painter and treatise writer Karel van Mander (1548–1606), he began his training with his father Anthonis Jansz. Wtewael, a glassmaker in Utrecht, and continued with the painters Joos de Beer (+1591) and Abraham Bloemaaert (1564–1651). Around 1586, he moved to Italy with his patron Charles Debourgneuf de Cucé, the bishop of Saint Malo. Between 1588–1590, he lived in Padua. Afterwards, he relocated to France with his patron, where he continued to work for him during another two years before permanently returning to Utrecht. These stays in Italy and France left a profound mark on his painting, whose style bears witness to his knowledge of the Bassano family, and particularly of Parmigianino, as well as of the Fontainebleau school. In 1592, he was admitted to the Utrecht Guild of saddlers, to which belonged painters who did not hold their own guild until 1611, that of Saint Luke, of which Wtewael was a founding member. Having settled permanently in his native city, he also dedicated himself to the linen trade, which was used to make canvases. In addition, he played an active role in local politics, being elected as a member of the town council on several occasions (1610, 1632 and 1636). Although he was born into a Catholic family, Wtewael became a fervent Calvinist and supporter of the House of Orange. In 1618, he participated in the overthrow of the local council, which was replaced by another pro-Orange council.
His earliest known works date back to around 1590, although his first signed and dated work, The Parnassus (formerly Dresden, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister), is from 1594. His last surviving works are dated 1628. Over a hundred of his paintings and around eighty of his drawings are known. His subject matter is primarily biblical and mythological, although he also painted portraits, including his Self-Portrait (Utrecht, Centraal Museum) and genre scenes.
He is one of the representatives of Dutch Mannerism in its final stage, a style that he never abandoned. Therefore, his work does not denote a clear stylistic evolution. His work combines the influence of Venetian, Tuscan and Haarlem Mannerisms. In different documents, he appears interchangeably as Wttwael, Uytewael, Utenwael and Wtenwael (Posada Kubissa, T.: Pintura holandesa en el Museo Nacional del Prado. Catálogo razonado, 2009, p. 262).

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