Village Landscape with Figures and a Well
Oil on panel (parquetted). 55 x 89 cm.
Signed lower centre: Th Michau.
The rustic village scenes of the Flemish painter Theobald Michau are motifs in the style of his older Flemish compatriots Jan Brueghel the Elder (1568-1625) and David Teniers the Younger (1610-1690). Michau continued this tradition with the brighter and more vivid colour palette of the 18th century, and yet his works are still often confused with those of Jan Brueghel. This may also be due to the fact that Michau did not always sign his paintings. However, this view of a village square with a fountain on the right, numerous figures and animals is not only a signed but also a remarkably large work by this artist, who otherwise mainly painted small-format cabinet pieces.
Representations of rural life enjoyed great popularity in the 18th century, and Michau was already extremely successful during his lifetime. Duke Charles IV of Lorraine acquired ten works alone. Michau was trained at a young age in the Brussels studio of the landscape painter Lucas Achtschellinck. He was also admitted to the Guild of Saint Luke in Brussels as a free master in 1698, but he later moved to Antwerp where he is documented until 1710.
Auctioned by Christie’s, London, 21.4.1989, lot 3. - Auctioned by Sotheby's, London, 8.7.1999, lot 1.