Balen, Hendrik van, the Elder
Flemish School, 17th century, male.
Born 1575, in Antwerp; died 17 July 1632, in Antwerp.
Painter. Religious subjects, allegorical subjects, mythological subjects, landscapes with figures. Designs for stained glass.
Hendrik van Balen the Elder's name will always remain linked to those of his celebrated pupils, van Dyck and Franz Snyders. He first studied under Martin de Vos, then (according to Van Mander) completed his training under Adam van Noort. Around 1592 he joined the Guild of St Luke as a free master and was a senior guild member from 1605-1610. He is known to have visited Rome as he was later part of the 'Romanist' guild whose members were drawn from Flemish artists who had lived in the city. In 1613 van Balen became a senior member of this guild. Like Rubens, he accumulated a fine collection of paintings and works of art in his house in Antwerp. In 1605 he married Marguerite Briers, with whom he had 11 children, several of whom became painters, though they were not as well known as their father. Van Balen painted small-scale landscapes with Biblical or mythological scenes on wood and copper. He also executed life-size altarpieces in a very different manner from that of his landscapes. He often called on the assistance of other artists: Jan (Velvet) Brueghel painted the detail and backgrounds in many of his works; Josse de Momper and Franz Snyders also made contributions to his paintings. Van Balen was influenced by his celebrated disciple van Dyck; a historical work by van Balen in the church of St James in Antwerp, in which the artist employs all the qualities of coloration and composition characteristic of van Dyck, could easily be attributed to the latter. Van Balen's works can be found in most major galleries, though few of them are signed. His drawings are rarer. He also executed cartoons for stained glass windows.His works include ...