Jan Frans Van Bloemen called ORIZZONTE

(Antwerp 1662 - Rome 1749)

An Arcadian Landscape with a shepherdess leading her flock down a track, two sages resting on rocks, a lake and a fortified castle beyond with mountains in the distance

Oil on canvas: 12 5/8 x 15 7/8 in. 32 x 40.5 cm.

Provenance: Provenance: Chateau de Chanteloup, where attributed to Gaspard Dughet (see inscription on stretcher. Possibly from the collection of the Duc de Choiseul, First Minister to Louis XV, until exiled to Chanteloup by the King’s mistress Mme.Du Barry.

Alain Jacobs, in the Macmillan Dictionary of Art, states that “Considered a great artist by his contemporaries, Orizzonte produced some of the finest classical landscape painting in Rome during the first half of the 18th.century.”  His style was a fusion of the Dutch-Italianate painters active in Rome in the mid seventeenth century, and the classical Roman painters, such as Poussin and Dughet, of the same period.  Out of these influences he fashioned a technique and a vision which breathes a serenity peculiar to the artist.  Every landscape he painted evinced a love for the campagna, its shifting lights and shadows, and the radiance of its early morning and evening skies.  His mastery of recession and the bluish horizons which terminate his views gave rise to his pseudonym Orizzonte.

Although extremely popular among Roman patrons, Van Bloemen was only admitted to the Accademia di San Luca at the age of eighty, as a result of a prolonged disagreement with the institution.  We know he was in Rome by 1693, the year he married there, and his Dutch roots were  reflected in the choice of Caspar van Wittel, also an artistic role model, as godfather to his first child.  Van Bloemen’s evocative panoramas were ideal as a means of expressing classical nobility in a picture collection, and they were soon acquired by patrons both north and south of the Alps, who hung them, like their Dughets, as serene resting points between the masterpieces of their collections.  He is therefore represented in the Doria-Pamphili Gallery, Rome, at Attingham Park, Shropshire and Schloss Worlitz, near Dessau.

Van Bloemen’s broad but expressive facture sets him apart from his close contemporaries, such as Andrea Locatelli, Paolo Anesi and Gianpaolo Panini.  Two of his most effective pupils were Gabriele Ricciardelli and Nicolo Bonito.