17th century Flemish and Dutch paintings

Ryckaert, David III, 1651, SOLD
The return from the hunt with an elegant company entertained by musicians
Oil on canvas : 97,3 X 138,1 cm
Signed and dated lower right “D Ryckaert/1651”
Frame :127,2 X 167,4 cm

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About David Ryckaert III
Flemish painter
Antwerp 1612 – 1661 Antwerp
Versatile genre scene painter.
Ryckaert was born into an artistic family : 
- his grandfather, David I, was a painter;
- his uncle was the famous landscape painter Maerten Ryckaert;
- his father, David II, who was his teacher, was a landscape painter;
- finally his brother-in-law was Gonzales Coques, who specialized in genre-like portraits.
David Ryckaert III worked during his complete career in his birthplace Antwerp. 
He was Dean of the Painter's Guild of Antwerp in the year 1652-1653.
He was a very successful painter: one of his patrons was Archduke Leopold William, governor of the Spanish Netherlands from 1647 until 1656.
Ryckaert’s artistic development can be followed from 1637 to 1661.
Until the late 1640s, his main subject were rustic peasant scenes, influenced by Adriaen Brouwer and by David Teniers II.
Under the influence of Gonzales Coques and others, from about 1650, Ryckaert increasingly depicted high-life scenes, predominantly musical companies. 
Ryckaert died at a relatively young age, not even reaching the age of fifty. He was married and the couple had eight children.
Most of the mayor museums have paintings by David Ryckaert III: the Rijksmuseum of Amsterdam, the Pitti Museum in Florence, the Prado in Madrid, the Metropolitan Museum of New York, the Louvre in Paris or Fine Art Museums in Antwerp, Brussels, Berlin and Dresden. 
About Ryckaert’s high-life scenes
Until the late 1640s Ryckaert had specialised in low-life, rustic peasant scenes, especially tavern interiors. 
The arrival in 1647 in Brussels of the new governor of the Spanish Netherlands (Flanders), Archduke Leopold William, the younger brother of emperor Ferdinand III, must have triggered a stylistic change. He was an art lover who spent a fortune acquiring both Flemish and Italian paintings, but … he disliked coarse tavern and barn interiors; he preferred more refined scenes. Ryckaert started painting elegant companies.
The shift in style paid off: the Archduke’s inventory of his collection in 1659 mentions four paintings by our painter and he must have made new clients amongst the nobility and the rich bourgeoisie. September 18th 1651 he was elected Dean of the Painter’s Guild of Saint Luke in Antwerp for the coming year (1652/53).
In the early 1650s Ryckaert painted several elegant musical companies of upper-class people, recognizable by their elegant postures and exquisite costumes. Most of them are today in important museums: the Statens Museum of Copenhagen, the Galleria Pamphilj in Rome and the Liechtenstein Collections in Vienna.
David Ryckaert III was not the only genre painter from Antwerp who chose for socially more esteemed subjects, which got a more idealized aspect, with attention for the fashionable and refined. David Teniers II (1610 – 1690) made the same evolution and in 1651 he moved from Antwerp to Brussels, where he became, besides remaining of course a very successful painter, the curator of the personal collection of paintings of Archduke Leopold William.
Why should you buy this painting?
Because it is one of the rare examples of Ryckaert’s elegant musical companies from the early 1650s that is still on the market.