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Christopher Tadgell

(b Ribemont, Somme, 1628; d Paris, Jan 21, 1686).

French engineer, architect, teacher and writer. He was born to a newly ennobled member of the household of the queen-mother, Marie de’ Medici. He joined the army and became a military engineer, attaining the rank of Maréchal de Camp by 1652. In that year he was seconded by one of the secretaries of state for foreign affairs, the Comte de Brienne, to accompany his son on a comprehensive Grand Tour of Europe. On his return in 1655 Blondel was equipped with an unrivalled range of first-hand experience that recommended him for a diplomatic career, although the following year he was appointed Professor of Mathematics at the Collège de France. Diplomatic missions took him to Prussia, Sweden and Turkey and, while waiting on the Sultan, he visited Greece and Egypt. He was ambassador to Denmark in 1659–63. Thereafter he rejoined the armed services and was assigned to the navy as an engineer responsible for port and coastal defences in Normandy and Brittany, most notably transforming Saintes and constructing the new port and arsenal of Rochefort....

Article

Robert Enggass

(b Lugano, June 13, 1648; d after July 6, 1709).

Italian painter and theorist. He went to Milan about 1665 to study painting under Francesco Cairo. A decade later he moved to Venice, where for the Lombard chapel of S Maria dei Frari he painted St Carlo Borromeo Distributing Alms to the Poor (in situ) in the dark, dramatic, fully Baroque manner of his teacher. David’s other documented works in Venice are in S Maria del Carmelo and the Palazzo Albizzi a Sant’Aponal. While in Venice he also operated a highly successful art academy, remarkably, in competition with Pietro della Vecchia, a far more successful painter. Contemporary reports indicate that ‘he contradicted della Vecchia at every turn’, and that he played down the importance of drawing, making it secondary to the painter’s own ideas. This attitude was highly radical, given that drawing was then considered the basis of an artist’s education. By May 1686 David was in Rome, where he remained for the rest of his life. His two large canvases for S Andrea al Quirinale, the ...

Article

Ismael Gutiérrez Pastor

(b Villena, Alicante, c. 1645; d Madrid, June 28, 1717).

Spanish painter, engraver and writer. He began his training in Murcia with Nicolás de Villacis (c. 1618–94) and Mateo Gilarte (c. 1620–after 1680), who both worked in a naturalist and tenebrist style. He travelled to Rome in the 1660s and came into contact with the Italian Baroque, especially the work of Pietro da Cortona and Carlo Maratti. On his return he was first in Valencia, where the work of Jerónimo Jacinto Espinosa became a strong influence. Towards 1674 he established himself in Madrid, where he entered the circle of Juan Carreño de Miranda.

García Hidalgo’s numerous paintings were frequently signed, and he painted a good many for the Augustinian Order in Madrid, Madrigal de las Altas Torres, Santiago de Compostela and Sigüenza (e.g the Vision of St Augustine, 1680; Sigüenza Cathedral), and for the Carmelite Order in Alba de Tormes, Peñaranda de Bracamonte and Segovia (e.g. the ...

Article

Genre of narrative painting depicting multi-figure scenes, particularly that which emerged with the foundation of royal and national academies of fine arts in Europe and the Americas, beginning in France in the mid-17th century.

Academies of fine arts in Europe and its colonies abroad as well as those of emerging nations designated history painting as the most noble and highest form of artist expression, as the main priority for an academy. History painting gained this status for the technical virtuosity it required and because it existed as an important vehicle for official and elite propaganda as well as the construction of state, imperial, and national identity.

The ability to produce a history painting began with a rigorous drawing education to master techniques of Western naturalism, including chiaroscuro, proportion, and linear perspective in order to enliven and valorize historical subjects that usually contained moral messages for a “public” audience. What began as a vehicle for nationalism and empire in Europe spread to the Spanish colonies by the late 18th century....

Article

David Cast

[Kniller, Gottfried]

(b Lübeck, ?Aug 8, 1646; d London, Oct 19, 1723).

English painter and draughtsman of German birth. He was the leading portrait painter in England during the late 17th century and the early 18th, and, as such, the chief recorder of court society for almost 40 years. He popularized the kit-cat format for portraits and was also the founding governor in 1711 of the first proper academy of art in England. His older brother Johann [John] Zachary Kneller (b Lübeck, 1642; d London, 1702), with whom he was close, was also a painter; his works include watercolour miniatures and still-lifes, as well as copies of his more famous brother’s works.

Kneller came from a distinguished family in Lübeck. His father was the city’s chief surveyor, and Kneller was first prepared for a career in the army, studying mathematics at the University of Leyden (now Leiden). However, it seems he had always been attracted to painting, and in 1662...

Article

Claire Constans

(b Paris, bapt Feb 24, 1619; d Paris, Feb 12, 1690).

French painter and designer. He dominated 17th-century French painting as no other artist; it was not until over a century later, during the predominance of Jacques-Louis David, that artistic authority was again so concentrated in one man. Under the protection of a succession of important political figures, including Chancellor Pierre Séguier (see fig.), Cardinal Richelieu and Nicolas Fouquet, Le Brun created a series of masterpieces of history and religious painting. For Louis XIV and his chief minister Jean-Baptiste Colbert he executed his greatest work, the royal palace of Versailles: an almost perfect ensemble of architecture, decoration and landscape. After Colbert’s death in 1683, he was no longer able to count on prestigious commissions and, apart from finishing the decoration of Versailles, he concentrated on smaller-scale religious painting.

Le Brun was the son of Nicolas Le Brun (d 1648), a master sculptor, and Julienne Le Bé, several members of whose family were writing-masters to Louis XIII, to the children of Chancellor Séguier and subsequently to Louis XIV. While still a child, Le Brun apparently produced a number of small sculptures, and, in his adolescence, he spent a short time in the studio of the painter ...

Article

Kim Sloan

[Lans; Lense; Lentz]

English family of artists. At least four generations of the family worked in a variety of (often overlapping) artistic occupations, including drawing instruction, printmaking, topographical work and painting in miniature. According to George Vertue (‘Note-books’, Walpole Soc., xxvi (1938), p. 62), Bernard Lens (i) (b 1631; d 1708), who was probably born in the Netherlands, worked as a painter on enamel; he was also the author of several religious tracts. His son Bernard Lens (ii) (b 1659; d London, 28 April 1725), together with the copperplate engraver John Sturt (1658–1730), ran a drawing-school—one of the first in England—in St Paul’s Churchyard, London, from 1697 until some time after 1710. In 1705 he was taken on at the nearby Christ’s Hospital boys’ charity school to provide instruction in the navigational drawing skills necessary for those destined for careers at sea or apprenticeships. Following his death, the position passed to one of his sons, ...

Article

Bernard Aikema

[Giannantonio]

(b Venice, April 29, 1675; d Venice, Nov 5, 1741).

Italian painter. With Sebastiano Ricci and Jacopo Amigoni he was the most important Venetian history painter of the early 18th century. By uniting the High Renaissance style of Paolo Veronese with the Baroque of Pietro da Cortona and Luca Giordano, he created graceful decorations that were particularly successful with the aristocracy of central and northern Europe. He travelled widely, working in Austria, England, the Netherlands, Germany and France.

His father, a glover, came from Padua. At an early age Pellegrini was apprenticed to the Milanese Paolo Pagani (1661–1716), with whom he travelled to Moravia and Vienna in 1690. In 1696 Pellegrini was back in Venice, where he painted his first surviving work, a fresco cycle in the Palazzetto Corner on Murano, with scenes from the life of Alexander the Great and allegorical themes on the ceiling. Here his figure style is clearly derived from Pagani, but the effects of light and the free handling suggest the art of Giordano or even Cortona, whose work Pellegrini could not then have known. By contrast, brushwork in a series of paintings of the ...

Article

Sonja Weih-Krüger

[Preisler]

German family of painters and engravers, of Bohemian origin, also active in Denmark. Daniel Preissler (b Prague, 8 March 1627; d Nuremberg, 19 June 1665), a pupil in Dresden of Christian Schiebling (1603–63), lived from 1652 in Nuremberg, becoming a master in 1654 and being nominated to the city’s Greater Council in 1662. He painted altarpieces and numerous portraits, including a Self-portrait of the Artist with his Family (1665; Nuremberg, Ger. Nmus.)

Daniel’s son, Johann Daniel Preissler (b Nuremberg, 17 January 1666; d Nuremberg, 13 October 1737), was born after the death of his father; ten years later his mother married her husband’s pupil, Heinrich Popp (1637–82), who became Johann Daniel’s first teacher. On Popp’s death in 1682 Johann Daniel was apprenticed to the painter Johann Murrer (1644–1713). He spent the period 1688–96 in Venice and Rome, returning in ...

Article

Christian Klemm

(b Frankfurt am Main, May 12, 1606; d Nuremberg, Oct 14, 1688).

German painter and writer. A leading figure in 17th-century German painting, he is chiefly famed for his biographical writings in the Teutsche Academie. His great-nephew, an engraver who died young in London, also bore the name Joachim von Sandrart (1668–91).

Sandrart came from a family of Calvinist refugees from Wallonia. After initial lessons in drawing with Georg Keller and Sebastian Stoskopff (1597–1657), he began an apprenticeship in engraving in 1620 with Peter Isselburg in Nuremberg. In 1622 he went to Prague for more advanced tuition with Aegidius Sadeler II, who advised him to turn to painting. He accordingly apprenticed himself to Gerrit van Honthorst in Utrecht. Here, in 1627, he met Peter Paul Rubens, whom he accompanied on a journey through Holland. In 1628 he went with Honthorst to the English court. In 1629 Sandrart travelled via Venice and Florence to Rome. Here he initially became friendly with Domenichino; his acquaintance included both northerners—Claude Lorrain, Nicolas Poussin, François Du Quesnoy, Pieter van Laer—and Italians—Pietro da Cortona, Andrea Sacchi and Pietro Testa. From ...

Article

Alan Fausel

(b ?Woolland, Dorset, July 25, 1675; d Stalbridge, Dorset, May 13, 1734).

English painter. The great English exponent of Baroque decorative painting, he was the only one to compete successfully with foreigners for the relatively few large-scale decorative commissions available in England during the first quarter of the 18th century. His skill in this field was remarkable, since his training was irregular and his trips abroad (the Low Countries in 1711 and Paris in 1717) came only after he had reached maturity as an artist.

Thornhill was born into an old Dorset family, and his father, a grocer, probably abandoned both wife and children while Thornhill was still young. Their subsequent move to London meant he grew up in the house of his uncle, the physician Thomas Sydenham. In 1689, aged 14, he was apprenticed to Thomas Highmore (1660–1720), a distant relative and specialist in non-figural decorative painting, which included wainscots and balustrades as well as trompe l’oeil effects. While working for Highmore in great houses such as Chatsworth, Derbys, in the 1690s, Thornhill was exposed to the work of foreign decorative painters, in particular Louis Laguerre, Louis Chéron and Antonio Verrio, all of whom exerted a great influence on his subsequent work....

Article

(b Paris, Dec 6, 1668; d Rome, Dec 11, 1737).

French painter, administrator and teacher of Flemish origin. He trained with his father Philippe Vleughels (?1620–94), a Flemish painter who had moved to Paris in 1642; he was also a pupil of Pierre Mignard I. In 1694 he came second in the Prix de Rome competition with Lot and his Daughters Leaving Sodom (untraced); despite repeated attempts, he failed to win the first prize. He became a close friend of Watteau and was, like him, greatly influenced by Flemish painting, notably that of Rubens. In 1704 Vleughels travelled to Italy at his own expense. From his base in Rome he made trips to Venice (1707–9) and Modena (1712–14) and was much influenced by the work of the Venetian colourists, particularly Veronese, whose works he copied (drawings Paris, Louvre, Cab. Dessins). In 1716, back in Paris, he was approved (agréé) by the Académie Royale and in the same year was received (...

Article

Helmut Börsch-Supan

(b Berne, bapt June 22, 1637; d Berne, 1710).

Swiss painter, active in France and Germany . His work is diverse in form—ranging from portrait miniatures to ceiling paintings—and eclectic in manner, drawing on a wide range of 17th-century influences. Like his biography, it is marked by restlessness and inner division. The surviving oeuvre securely attributed to him comprises only 56 oil paintings, 47 miniatures, 60 drawings and 2 etchings (Glaesemer). The quality is uneven, and a clear line of development is difficult to discern. A decline in Werner’s creative powers set in long before his death.

Werner was the son of a painter of the same name ( fl 1637; d after 1675). He left the Calvinist milieu of Berne in 1649 to train in Basle and from 1650 learnt oil painting in Frankfurt am Main under Matthäus Merian (ii), a cosmopolitan and versatile painter. He went on to Italy between 1652 and 1654. In the tradition of Hans Rottenhammer II, Friedrich Brentel I and Johann Wilhelm Baur, Werner treated the subject-matter of the large-format panel painting with great delicacy. In a ...