Frans Francken the Younger, AMBROSIUS FRANCKEN II and A. GOVAERTS, workshop - THE VIRGIN WITH CHILD AND TWO ANGELS
Frans Francken the Younger, AMBROSIUS FRANCKEN II and A. GOVAERTS, workshop
THE VIRGIN WITH CHILD AND TWO ANGELS
Oil on panel (parquetted). 42 x 48,5 cm.
The central group of the Virgin and the Angels was painted by Frans Francken II, who maintained a large studio in Antwerp at the time of Rubens. His younger brother Ambrosius II (abt. 1590-1632) worked in his studio, and he created the precious frame on real gold-leaf ground with four scenes in grisaille as well as the small paintings of the four Evangelists in the corners in trompe l'oeil. The wooded landscape of the inner painting was done by the workshop of Abraham Govaert who was specialised in such landscapes. Such a cooperation is characteristic of the Antwerp art of painting and it guaranteed the buyer highest quality by the work of specialists in their respective fields. The grisaille by the hand of Ambrosius Francken II are painted in perfectly fluid technique, the wild flowers with acanthus leaves impressively imitate the style of their models in the Flemish Books of Hours of the middle ages. The scenes in grisaille depict episodes from the life of the Virgin and her Son: above the Nativity with the Adoration of the Shepherds and corresponding with it, below the Adoration of the Magi. On the left-hand side, the Flight into Egypt, enhanced by an allusion to the legend according to which the earth trembled as the true God rode by a pagan monument whereupon it collapsed. The grisaille on the right-hand side shows the young Christ disputing with the Doctors. Significant in our painting is the perfection of the composition jointly created by the three Antwerp masters on an almost square plate, likewise, the richness of details on the frame with its simultaneous scenic levels on brilliant gold-leaf ground, typical of Frans Francken's studio. The preciousness of execution and richness of details give support to the contemporary viewer in his meditation and prayer before this painting.
Dr. Ursula Haerting, 6. April 2011.
Private collection, Belgium
Cf. U. Härting, K. Borms: Abraham Govaerts - der Waldmaler, Schoten 2004. - U. Härting: Frans Franckern d. J. - Die Gemälde, Freren 1989.