Daniel Seghers Simon de Vos - A Medallion in a Floral Garland
Simon de Vos
A Medallion in a Floral Garland
Oil on canvas (relined). 130 x 107 cm.
Daniel Seghers begann his training as a painter in 1611 under Jan Brueghel the Elder in Antwerp. He simultaneously pursued a career in the church, which began with the Jesuits in Antwerp and later led to a novitiate in Mechelen. This was followed up in 1625 by a two-year sojourn to Rome as a member of the Jesuit order. Following his return to Antwerp in 1627, Seghers carried on his career as an artist whilst remaining a member of the order.
He specialised in painting floral garlands, often surrounding figurative panels painted by other artists. The present work, painted for the Jesuit Church of St. Stanislaus Kostka in Antwerp, is one such work. When choosing the flowers for his garlands, Seghers not only considered their decorative effect, but also their theological and allegorical significance. For this he was able to refer to the multitude of devotional publications such as Father P. L. Richome's “La peinture spirituelle ou l´art d´admirer, aimer et louer Dieu en tout ses oevres et tirer de toutes profit salutaire”. Written in a spirit of Counter-Reformational fervour, these books encouraged the contemplation of God's majesty through the miracles of his works. Segher's colourful and finely painted flowers can thus be viewed as a glorification of God's creation (G. Heinz: Geistliches Blumenbild und dekoratives Stilleben in der Geschichte der kaiserlichen Gemäldesammlungen, in: Jahrbuch der Wiener Kunstsammlungen, vol. LXIX, 1973, p. 7-54).
The thorn-bearing plants such as thistles, roses, hawthorn, and holly can all be associated with the passion of Christ, which is depicted on the medallion painted by Simon de Vos. Another work painted in collaboration with de Vos is currently kept in the Nasher Museum of Art. This piece was made for the altar of Saint Luigi Gonzaga in the Antwerp Jesuit church, bears similar dimensions, and was also removed from the church in 1777 (sold by Sotheby's London, 6.12.1989, lot 72, and donated to the museum in 1998 by the buyer Richard D. Segel).
Jesuitenkriche St. Carolus Borromeus, Antwerp. - Sold in 1777. - Private collection, Belgium. - Lempertz, Cologne 15.11.1995, lot 1379. - Private collection, Germany.
W. Couvreur: Daniel Seghers Inventaris van door hem geschilderte bloemstukken, in: Gentse Bijdragen tot Kunstgeschiedenis en de Oudheid-Kunde, vol XX, Gent 1967, p. 118 ff, no. 177. Further p. 131-132 (Catalogue des Tableaux déposés au Collége d'Anvers; savoir: De ceux dudit Collége, De la Maison Professe, Du Convict & du Collége de Lierre, p.8, no. 33.