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Famous Dutch Painters from Dordrecht, Ancient Capital of Holland

Part 2

5. Abraham Bloemaert


Note : Please do not email me with technical questions about paintings and their age and origin because I am not an expert but I only have gathered information about the Painters from the Netherlands and specially from Dordrecht.

Dordrecht is not only known as the oldest city and ancient capital of Holland but also for the many famous painters who were born or lived in Dordrecht during the late Middle ages and later centuries.

On the next pages you can find many works from these famous painters who were responsible for many styles of paintings and they immortalized the daily life and landscapes in the 15th to 19th century. Most of their masterpieces are nowadays part of collections in museums all over the world and of which many can be seen in the local Dordrechts Museum.

Abraham Bloemaert

Dordrecht 1564 - Utrecht 1651

Abraham Bloemaert was the son of an architect, He studied at Utrecht under eminent painters, spent three years in Paris, and then returned to settle finally at Utrecht, where he became dean of the Guild of St. Luke. He painted and etched historical and allegorical pictures, landscapes, still life's, animal pictures, and flower piece. His four sons - Hendrick, Frederick, Cornelis, and Adriaen - all achieved considerable reputations themselves as painters and engravers.

The paintings of Abraham Bloemaert
Rest on the flight into Egypt
Abraham Bloemaert, 1632
Oil on canvas 85 x 109.5 cm
Rijksmuseum Amsterdam
Old woman selling eggs
Abraham Bloemaert, 1632
Oil on canvas 76 cm × 58 cm
Rijksmuseum Amsterdam
The Preaching of St John the Baptist
Abraham Bloemaert, 1595-1600
Oil on canvas, 139 x 188 cm
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

The subject of this painting was very popular in the Netherlands among Protestants and Catholics alike in the closing years of the 16th century. This painting, with its colorful figures, is the most impressive of the versions that the Catholic Bloemaert painted of the subject.

Adoration of the Magi
Abraham Bloemaert 1624
Oil on canvas 169x193cm
Central Museum, Utrecht
Warrior and Young Standard-Bearer
Abraham Bloemaert
Pen with brown ink, brown wash on paper, 270 x 171 mm
Museum Mayer van den Bergh, Antwerp
The Emmaus Disciples
Abraham Bloemaert 1622
Oil on wood, 145 x 215,5 cm
Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts, Brussels

The tableau presents the biblical scene in which Jesus - in a gesture that refers back to the Last Supper - breaks bread and in so doing confirms his resurrection from the dead to two of his disciples, who had not recognized him until then (Luke 24, 13-35).

Moses Striking the Rock
Abraham Bloemaert 1596
Oil on canvas 80x108cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
The Four Evangelists
Abraham Bloemaert 1615
Oil on canvas 177 x 226cm
Princeton Art Museum.
Virgin and Child
Abraham Bloemaert 1628
Oil on canvas 63x51cm
Toronto Art Gallery
The Baptism of Christ
Abraham Bloemaert, 1602
Oil on canvas 58,4 x 75,9 cm
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa

Using figure groups and landscape motifs, Bloemaert divides his picture thematically in order to highlight the different stages of the sacrament of baptism. At the extreme left, a bearded man admonishes a candidate who is disrobing in preparation for baptism, and who is depicted fully undressed near the centre of the composition. The actual baptism of Christ is given a modest place in the background, dwarfed by the final scene at the right representing the three Ages of Man beneath the Holy Ghost descending from the clouds.

The Marriage of Cupid and Psyche
Abraham Bloemaert c. 1595
Oil on panel, diameter: 61,6 cm
Royal Collection, Windsor

The composition of the painting is inspired by a large engraving of the Marriage of Cupid and Psyche by Hendrik Goltzius, made after a drawing of 1587 by Bartholomeus Spranger. The rectangular format of the engraving was favored by Bloemaert for another version of the subject now at Aschaffenburg, Bavaria. This compositional dependency on Spranger's work is echoed in the similarity of style, which in turn suggests an early date of about 1595 for the painting.

Parable of the Wheat and the Tares
Abraham Bloemaert 1624
Oil on canvas 100 x 133 cm
Walters Art Gallery

In this painting the landscape functions as the setting of a biblical story. The key figure is the little man with horns lurking in the background: the devil who sows tares among the wheat while the peasants are asleep (Matthew 13:25).

Landsape with Peasants Resting

Abraham Bloemaert, 1650
Oil on canvas, 91 x 133 cm

Staatliche Museen, Berlin His peasant landscape contains certain Mannerist elements such as the large distance between the foreground objects and the sweeping horizon, or in the way in which he has united contrasts. The aspects of Boemaert's work adopted by Dutch landscape painters are the picturesque elements evident in his rendering of nature and architecture.

Charikleia and Theagenes
Abraham Bloemaert, 1625
Oil on canvas, 95 x 118 cm
Scloss Sanssouci, Berlin

This rare subject was taken from the Aethiopica, a Greek novel of A.D. 240 written by a Phoenician, Heliodorus, and devoted to an Ethiopian adventure that takes place in the Nile Delta. Attacked by pirates (at the upper right), the hero, the Grecian maiden Charikleia, kneels over her wounded mate Theagens.

Amaryllis and Mirtillo
Abraham Bloemaert 1635
Oil on canvas 115 x 140cm
Siftung Preubische Schlosser, Berlin
Shepherd an Shepherdess
Abraham Bloemaert, 1627
Oil on canvas
Niedersächsisches Landesmuseum, Hannover

The symbolism of Christ and Christians as shepherd and sheep is founded on the parables of Luke (15:3-7) and John (10:1-18). Its translation into visual terms is largely confined to early Christian art. It is rarely enCountered in painting after the Middle Ages. The shepherd became element of pastoral scenes.

The Bagpiper
Abraham Bloemaert
Oil on canvas
Residenzgalerie, Salzburg
Death of Niobe's Children
Abraham Bloemaert, 1591
Oil on canvas 204 cm x 249.5 cm
Statens Museum for Kunst Copenhagen
Adoration of the Shepherds
Abraham Bloemaert 1612
Oil on canvas, 287 x 229 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

Bloemaert settled in Utrecht in 1593, and within a decade began to adopt the mild classicism that Goltzius had brought back from Italy. Utrecht was the leading Catholic centre in the northern Netherlands during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, and even during the seventeenth century, when Catholicism was suppressed, it continued to keep something of its Catholic character. Bloemaert, a devout Catholic, received commissions for large altarpieces from patrons in both the northern and southern Netherlands, and many of his more than 600 prints were intended for a Catholic clientele.

Adoration of the Magi
Abraham Bloemaert, 1623-24
Oil on canvas, 420 x 290 cm
Musée des Beaux-Arts, Grenoble

The Catholic painter Abraham, resident in predominantly Catholic Utrecht, painted spectacular altarpieces in the style reminiscent of sixteenth-century Italian painting. He painted this altarpiece, one of his largest, for the church of the Catholic order of the Jesuits in Brussels, in the Southern Netherlands. Such commissions were extremely rare in the Dutch Republic.The painting remained in the church for 150 years. Via Vienna it came in the collection of Napoleon. He founded an art collection in every departement of his empire, and thus this work ended up in Grenoble.

Landscape with the Prophet Elijah in the Desert
Abraham Bloemaert, 1610s
Oil on canvas. 72 x 97 cm
The Hermitage, St-Petersburg Russia
Landscape with Tobias and the Angel
Abraham Bloemaert
Oil on canvas. 139 x 107.5 cm
Holland. Early 1600s
The Hermtage, St-Petersburg Russia
Cimon and Iphigenia
Abraham Bloemaert
Oil on panel 36.9 x 52.1 cm
Private collection
Adoration of the Shepherds
Abraham Bloemaert, c. 1600
Oil on canvas, 78 x 107 cm
Private collection
An elderly man, bust-length, in a brown coat and hat; and An elderly woman, bust-length, in  brown coat and headscarf a pair of 2
Abraham Bloemaert, 1634
Oil on panel 37.5 x 27.9 cm
Private collection
The Adoration of the Shepherds
Abraham Bloemaert
Oil on panel 50.7 x 38.5 cm
Private collection
Vertumnus and Pomona
Abraham Bloemaert, 1620
Oil on canvas, 98 x 125 cm
Private collection

Pomona, the classical goddess of fruit, and Vertumnus, the god of transformation, are the main fs in an episode in Ovid's Metamorphoses which is depicted here. Vertumnus enters Pomona's grove in order to convince her of his love. Because she had always run away on previous occasions when he came, he has cunningly dressed as an old woman on this occasion. By telling her about the allegory of the grapevine and elm, he is able to convince her of the importance of togetherness, for the grapevine needs something it can climb up and the elm, when considered on its own, i useless. Persuaded, Pomona gives in to love and her innermost longings and they become a couple

A landscape with farm buildings on fire
Abraham Bloemaert
Oil on panel 61.3 x 87.7 cm
Private collection
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