Jan Frans van Bloemen (1670-1746) (Orrizonte)

Jan Frans van Bloemen (baptized 12 May 1662 - buried 13 June 1749) was a Flemish landscape painter mainly active in Rome. Here he was able to establish himself as the leading painter of views (vedute) of the Roman countryside depicted in the aesthetic of the classical landscape tradition. Van Bloemen predominantly painted classical landscapes, taking his inspiration from the Roman Campagna. His landscapes, with their recession through a series of planes, soft, warm lightning and classical and religious subject matter, drew on the examples of artists such as Claude Lorrain and Gaspard Dughet. His paintings are exquisitely imbued with that "difficult-to-define pastoral ambience" which helped to make him such a great painter in the eyes of his contemporaries. The technique and subjects of the work of Jan Frans van Bloemen are also related to painters such as Jan Asselijn, Thomas Wyck, Willem Romeyn and Willem Schellinks. His painted vedute fall into the category of the vedute that combine reality with imaginary elements. His landscapes have an Arcadian lushness, with mountains, streams, distant hamlets, and small inhabitants painted with imprecise pittura di tocco ('painting of touch') using small dotting and spirited brush-strokes. Unlike van Wittel, van Bloemen did not generally depict views of areas distant from Rome such as the Tiber valley or the Alban hills. His subjects were limited to views in the immediate vicinity of Rome, an outline of which was typically visible in his compositions. Van Bloemen was in particular known for his 'estate views' representing the estates of the nobility in the Roman Campagna. His views aim to associate the modern estate view with the classical arcadian landscape. Rather than offering the wide panoramic views, distant horizon and atmospheric effects associated with topographical landscapes, van Bloemen's estate views emphasize minute observation of reality and a limited viewpoint. The estates are thus made to appear as immutable features of the local landscape. He worked together with other painters who painted the figures in his landscapes such as Carlo Maratti, Placido Costanzi and Pompeo Batoni. However, he only relied on such collaboration with figure painters in the last decades of his life when he produced his most ambitious classicising compositions. Even then he only relied on these figure specialists for the most prominent figures in the foreground while he took care of the minor characters. In fact, van Bloemen was an accomplished staffage painter and he was very skilled at quickly learning to imitate the style of his collaborators. As a result, many of the figures in his paintings that are attributed to prestigious contemporaries were actually by his own hand. He collaborated most frequently with Placido Costanzi. He regarded the pair of paintings representing The Flight to Egypt and The Rest on the Flight to Egypt as his best collaboration with Placido Costanzi who painted the figures. His landscape drawings, which often depict imaginary ruins, have been confused with those of his brother Pieter, who is better known for his drawings of figures and animals. Jan Frans van Bloemen also made pen drawings of buildings in and around Rome.

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