About Jan Fyt
Antwerp 1611 – 1661 Antwerp
Important and prolific painter of game pieces, of flower and fruit still lifes and of live animals.
His name is sometimes spelt “Joannes Fijt”.
Pupil of the further unknown Hans van den Berghe (who was in fact a restorer of paintings), when he was scarcely more than ten years old, and of Frans Snyders (Antwerp 1579 – 1657 Antwerp).
Master in the local Painter’s Guild in 1630.
Fyt made a long journey through France and Italy: he is documented in 1633 in Paris, in 1635 in Venice, Naples, Florence and possibly Genoa. That same year he must have joined the Schildersbent in Rome, a society, founded in or circa 1623, of Dutch, Flemish, a few German and a single French painter. Its members were called the Bentvueghels (“group of birds”) and each received a nickname; Fyt was called “Goudvink” (“bullfinch”).
Our painter was back in Antwerp before September 1641. He stayed here almost uninterruptedly until his death twenty years later. In Saur, 1992 a short voyage in the Northern Netherlands in 1642 is mentioned.
Fyt had two important pupils in Antwerp:
- Peeter Boel (Antwerp 1622 – 1674 Paris) who worked in Genoa (1647 – 1649, Antwerp (1650 – 1668) and Paris (1669 – 1674).
- Jacques van de Kerckhove (Antwerp 1636/37 – 1712 Venice) who worked in Antwerp (1649 – 1657) and above all in Venice (1685 – 1712).
In 1650 Fyt joined the Guild of the Romanists, artists who had visited Rome. Two years later he was already the dean of this guild.
He only got married in 1654, seven years before his death. The couple had four children.