Authors

Jan van Balen

Antwerp 1611 - 1654

Jan van Balen trained during his early years with his father Hendrik van Balen, then later moved to Italy in 1639 with his brother Gaspar. He worked on mythological, religious and allegorical themes, was a disciple of Van Thulden, and collaborated under the instruction of Rubens in the Triumphal Arch for Cardinal Infante Don Fernando’s state entry into Antwerp in 1653. Like Jan Brueghel the Younger, his paintings have been confused with his father’s, displaying brushstrokes full of fantasy and breathing with life with very rich colouring. Upon observing that his paintings, converted into precious collectable objects, were disappearing from galleries in Antwerp, he reacted by making replicas of his own work, something not uncommon in the 17th century. The artistic creation of the van Balen family (Hendrik and Jan) took place at the height of painting in Antwerp, which lasted until the middle of the 17th century. After that time, painters were no more than plagiarisers until the 18th century, falling back on the themes and motifs used by their Flemish predecessors, for example, Balthasar Beschey.

The Feast of Acheloos

The Feast of Acheloos

Allegory of the Elements

Allegory of the Elements