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Jacob Jordaens

Flemish, 1593 - 1678

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Jacob Jordaens, who bore the name of his father, a linen merchant, was baptized in the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk (Church of Our Lady), Antwerp, on 20 May 1593. His mother was Barbara van Wolschaten. In 1607 he became a pupil of Adam van Noort (1562-1641), who had taught Peter Paul Rubens some years earlier. On 15 May 1616 he married Van Noort's eldest daughter, Catharina (1589-1659), with whom he had three children: Elizabeth (b. 1617), Jakob (b. 1623), and Anna Catherina (b. 1629).

In 1615/1616 Jordaens was admitted to the Antwerp Saint Luke's Guild as a master waterscilder - a painter in tempera and watercolors. This designation allowed him to paint cartoons for tapestries and wall coverings. By 1616, however, he was painting independent works in oil. These works, primarily portraits and religious and mythological scenes, reflect the artist's interest in the chiaroscuro effects achieved by northern Caravaggesque painters, although Jordaens never visited Italy. In 1620 he took on the first of his many pupils, none of whom achieved lasting fame. He was elected deken, or dean, of the guild in 1621.

Beginning in the late 1610s, it appears that Jordaens, as an independent master, occasionally assisted Rubens in his workshop, a relationship with the older artist that continued throughout the latter's lifetime. In 1634, for example, he assisted Rubens on the large project for the triumphal entry of the Cardinal Infante Ferdinande into Antwerp, and in 1637-1638 he participated in the decorative cycle for the Torre de la Parada, Philip IV's hunting lodge near Madrid. Jordaens also completed various paintings left unfinished by Rubens after his death in 1640. After the deaths of Rubens and Anthony van Dyck in 1641, Jordaens was widely considered the preeminent painter in Antwerp. He died in 1678. [This is the artist's biography published in the NGA Systematic Catalogue]

Artist Bibliography

Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr. Flemish Paintings of the Seventeenth Century. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 2005: 205 n. 47.

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