Verhaecht was a Flemish Mannerist landscape painter. He was the first teacher of Sir Peter Paul Rubens. Maerten Rijckaert also studied under him.
At the start of his career Verhaecht had crossed the Alps, which remained an important subject of him, to Italy: he is documented in Florence and in Rome.
The ruins of the Round Temple at Tivoli, near Rome, were a favourite subject of Flemish Mannerist painters during the early 17th century.
About Tobias Verhaecht
Antwerp 1561 – 1631 Antwerp
Landscape painter and draughtsman.
Verhaecht was active in Antwerp from circa 1590 onwards; that year (1590-91) he became member of the Painter’s Guild of Saint Luke. Before this date he must have travelled to Italy, where he visited Florence (working for Grand Duke Francesco I of Tuscany) and Rome (where he painted landscape frescoes).
He had several pupils, best known is Sir Peter Paul Rubens, who was distantly related to his first wife, Suzanna van Mockenborch: she was the granddaughter Rubens' stepfather Jan de Landmetere, and a cousin of his mother.
Verhaecht married in 1591, Rubens studied under him for some two years around 1592. Verhaecht’s second wife was the sister of the wife of the battle scene painter Sebastiaen Vrancx.
Among his other pupils I should mention Maerten Ryckaert and his own son, the genre painter Willem van Haecht II.
About the Round Temple of Tivoli
The town of Tivoli lies in the province of Lazio, some 30 km NE of Rome. Today it is best known for its huge villas: the ruins of the one from the Roman emperor Hadrian (2nd century AD) and the 16th century Villa d’Este.
The ancient town’s acropolis was situated above the waterfalls of the Aniene river. Here stood two temples: a round temple said to be associated with Vesta and a rectangular one in honour of the Tiburtine Sibyl.
Following a terrible flood (that destroyed many of the oldest houses of the town) in November 1826 Pope Gregory 16th had the course of the Aniene diverted into two tunnels. Originally the Aniene made a wide curve round the acropolis and then fell in 4 cascades, now there is one big waterfall in the park of the Villa Gregoriana.
It is not known whom the round, early 1st century BC, so-called Temple of Vesta (which also used to be called the Temple of the Sibyl) was originally dedicated to. During the Middle Ages it was changed into a rather shabby, small church building (of Santa Maria Rotonda) and then transformed again during the 19th century into its present, ‘original’, ruined state. Being one of the best known monuments of the Roman Campagna, laying in a romantic setting, it has attracted for many centuries numerous tourists and artists.
About our painting
This is a traditional Mannerist landscape from the early 17th century:
- the crumbled walls with the overgrowing vegetation on both sides of the composition and the dark foreground serve as a framing devise, leading our view into the landscape;
- the composition is divided in several distinct shots traditionally divided over the brown foreground, green middle distance and blue background. The technical name for this perspective system is ‘coulisse landscape’, referring to the drapes and curtains used on a theatre stage.
- the view point of the painter and the horizon line are high.
Why should you buy this painting?
Because this magical landscape is painted in the most beautiful tonalities, especially the blue.