Balthasar Beschey

(Antwerp 1708 - Antwerp 1776)

Commedia dell'arte

Oil on panel
33 X 43 cm ( 12 63⁄64 X 16 59⁄64 inches )

Painter of history, religious subjects, portraits, and genre scenes, Balthasar Beschey is the second of four brothers, all painters. He is the most renowned in his family, along with his elder brother Karel. The son of the master tailor Jacques Beschey, he was sponsored by the painter Balthasar Van den Bossche (1681-1715) and received his artistic training from Pieter Strick, a painter from Amsterdam established in Antwerp. He held the position of dean of the Guild of Saint Luke for the corporatist term of 1755/1756, and in the same year, he was appointed as the professor-director of the Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp.

A talented portraitist, however, it is in the grand genre that he truly excels. An eclectic painter with a prolific activity, sometimes leaning towards the Rubensian and Brueghelian traditions, and at other times open to the trends of the century, his painting appears as an attempt to renew the genre. His workshop and the family store where paintings were sold became the meeting place for the artistic world in Antwerp in the mid-18th century.

More than a century after the death of Jan Brueghel the Elder, Balthasar Beschey is among the last artists to perpetuate the tradition of Flemish landscape, precious and refined, which the public still seems to appreciate. In this pair of landscapes, Beschey presents two poetic and picturesque scenes with a luminous miniature technique.

MUSEUMS: Antwerp K.M.S.K., Budapest M.B.A., Dijon M.B.A., Château de Fontainebleau, Louvain Sted.Mus., Paris Louvre, St Petersburg Hermitage, and others.