Jan Brueghel the Younger
1601 Antwerp - 1678 Antwerp
Jan van Balen
1611 Antwerp - 1654 Antwerp
The Virgin and Child in a Floral Wreath
Oil on panel (parquetted). 102 x 78 cm.
Signed lower right: J. Brueghel.
Klaus Ertz, Mai 2011.
This large panel is a rare example of a collaboration between Jan Brueghel the Younger and Jan van Balen, one of the sons of Hendrick van Balen. Little is known of his œuvre, but his style is slightly looser and more schematic than that of his father, and easily identifiable. Jan van Balen took a sojourn to Italy, where he adopted a lighter, more vivid colour palette. Back in Antwerp, he was among the artists who worked under the supervision of Rubens on the decorative triumphal arch for the arrival of the Spanish Infant.
This motif with a floral wreath surrounding a figural scene is a characteristic invention of 17th century Antwerp. The motif lent itself well to collaborations between specialised artists, and there are excellent examples painted by Jan Brueghel the Elder together with Rubens, or Daniel Seghers with Simon de Vos. Alongside the opportunity to display ones artistic prowess, flower wreaths could also be imbued with religious counter-reformation symbolism, combining the devotional scene in the centre with a representation of the glory of God's creation.