The Beauty of van Bijlert

Jan van Bijlert was a Dutch Golden Age painter who lived from 1598 – 1671. He was a major artist from the Utrecht school and he lived in Rome for some time. I like to think you can see a bit of an Italian influence in his works, which sometimes reminds me of the works of Artemisia Gentileschi or Caravaggio.

His paintings are overflowing with energy and life – it’s so wonderful! But, don’t take my word for it – check it out:

In his Ulysses and Circe, van Bijert gives us a beautiful scene right out of Virgil’s The Aeneid.

BIJLERT, Jan van Ulysses and Circe. Oil on panel, 51 x 81 cm Private collection, Web Gallery of Art.

BIJLERT, Jan van
Ulysses and Circe. Oil on panel, 51 x 81 cm
Private collection, Web Gallery of Art.

Look at this detail from the painting above, and this woman is staring directly at the viewer. It gives me goosebumps!

Detail from Ulysses and Circe

Detail from Ulysses and Circe

Next we have:

BIJLERT, Jan van Young Man Drinking a Glass of Wine 1635-40 Oil on canvas, 65 x 56 cm Private collection, via Web Gallery of Art.

BIJLERT, Jan van
Young Man Drinking a Glass of Wine
1635-40
Oil on canvas, 65 x 56 cm
Private collection, via Web Gallery of Art.

Next, van Bijlert made several scenes of people playing music. You can just imagine the Baroque pieces that they might have been playing. The colours – particularly the blue and red – are sumptuous and bright. The man on the left is singing, the woman in blue seems startled by something, the man playing the violin deep in concentration, whilst two women in the background on the right seem to be chattering away.

BIJLERT, Jan van. "Musical Company" Oil on panel, 97 x 115 cm. Private collection, via Web Gallery of Art

BIJLERT, Jan van.
“Musical Company”
Oil on panel, 97 x 115 cm. Private collection, via Web Gallery of Art

As you can see, this next painting (which I use as my header on The Seventeenth Century Lady Facebook Page) is a merry gathering of men and women playing music (and presumably singing) together. I love paintings like this – which show human interaction and…fun.

BIJLERT, Jan van Music-making Company c. 1629 Oil on wood, 40 x 69 cm Akademie der bildenden Künste, Vienna, via Web Gallery of Art.

BIJLERT, Jan van
Music-making Company
c. 1629
Oil on wood, 40 x 69 cm
Akademie der bildenden Künste, Vienna, via Web Gallery of Art.

And again we have another musical painting below. This one, entitled simply “The Concert”, is my second favourite of van Bijlert’s works. The women are so beautiful, their bodies sensual, perhaps as sensual as the music they play?

BIJLERT, Jan van The Concert 1635-40 Oil on canvas Private collection, Web Gallery of Art.

BIJLERT, Jan van
The Concert
1635-40
Oil on canvas
Private collection, Web Gallery of Art.

Perhaps you are one of those who is thinking that van Bijlert only painted fun and entertainment, and nothing serious. Have a look at this:

"Portrait of an Elderly Man and Two Women", probably 1660s, Jan van Bijlert. © The National Gallery, London.

“Portrait of an Elderly Man and Two Women”, probably 1660s, Jan van Bijlert. © The National Gallery, London.

Egads! If you happen to have a sizeable amount of money lying around, I just found out that this van Bijlert is on sale from the London-based Fergus Hall Master Painters:

JAN VAN BIJLERT 1597/98 - Utrecht - 1671 A SHEPHERD PLAYING THE BAGPIPES Oil on Panel 16 ¾ x 13 in (42.5 x 33 cm) Signed upper right Provenance Private collection, France. © Fergus Hall Master Painters, London.

JAN VAN BIJLERT
1597/98 – Utrecht – 1671
A SHEPHERD PLAYING THE BAGPIPES
Oil on Panel
16 ¾ x 13 in (42.5 x 33 cm)
Signed upper right
Provenance
Private collection, France. © Fergus Hall Master Painters, London.

 

So there we have it. I hope you enjoyed this small compilation of van Bijlert’s work!

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