About Frederik van Valckenborch
Antwerp circa 1565/66 – 1623 Nuremberg
Late Mannerist painter of landscapes and of architectural scenes.
Son and pupil of the landscape painter Marten van Valckenborch I (1534 – 1612).
Elder brother of Gillis van Valckenborch I (1570 – 1622).
Nephew of Lucas van Valckenborch I (1535 – 1597).
His parents were Protestants. In 1577 Antwerp, then the largest town of the Low Countries, received, just like many other Flemish towns, a Protestant city administration. Spain was able to take back town after town in Flanders and finally in 1584 started the siege of Antwerp which ended successfully in September 1685. The local Protestant population was given four years to settle its affairs. Marten van Valckenborch fled Antwerp in 1586 and settled with his family in Frankfurt.
Our painter had an international career.
Frederik is said to have travelled with his brother Gillis in Italy between 1590 and 1596, visiting Rome, Venice and during the last two years Mantua (where they stayed at the court of the Gonzagas).
At their return in Frankfurt both brothers joined the successful workshop of their father Martin and his brother Gillis (who had left Austria and settled here at the start of 1593; he died here in 1597).
Frederik stayed in Frankfurt for two years: in 1597 (when he got married here) and in 1598.
In 1598/99 he made a trip through Bayern, Tirol, Salzkammergut until Vienna, and then returned again to Frankfurt.
In 1601 he settled in Nuremberg, where he stayed until his death in 1623.
His brother, Gillis, I, remained in Frankfurt and died there in 1622.
Frederik continued painting Late Mannerist landscapes which, just like those by his father and by his uncle, were a mixture of fantasy and of accurate topographical elements.
During his travels in Italy Frederik was strongly influenced by Lodewijk
Toeput (Il Pozzoserrato), by Pauwels Franck (Paolo Fiammingo) and by Paul Bril. The often dramatic chiaroscuro of his paintings is enhanced by fantastic mountains and rock formations and an often haunting, “surrealist” atmosphere.
He was also introduced to the dark interior scenes of Jacopo Tintoretto, as can be seen in his Carnival interiors.
His brother Gillis specialised in large-scale biblical and mythological compositions with many figures.
About our painting
Frederik van Valckenborch painted several Carnival scenes, often of large dimensions, holding many figures. Here the painter zoomed in onto the action, showing a greater attention to the exotic attirement and masks of the individual figures.
Why should you buy this painting?
Because it is a marvellously detailed depiction of strange Carnival figures: Turks, Jews, a Pierot and even a poet with a laurel wreath (either the Roman Virgil or the Florentine Dante Alighieri).