1600 Anvers - 1652 Amsterdam
Panel, 61 x 82 cm
Alexander Keirincx was a member of the guild of St. Luke in Antwerp in 1619. He stayed several times in England (around 1625-26 and 1640-41) as well as in Holland (1636 and 1643) and settled - shortly before his death - in Amsterdam. Keirincx ensures the transition between the picturesque Flemish and post-Mannerising landscapes of Coninxloo, Brueghel de Velours and Govaerts, in a more specifically understanding of Dutch landscape, which is also expressed in the paintings by Vroom and leads to the art of Ruisdael and Hobbema.
Wheras his early landscapes in the beginning of the 1620s still look composite, with several distinct scenes within the same painting, as can be seen in the paintings at the Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum and the Staatliches Museum Schwerin (Fig. 1 and 2), Keirincx gives our landscape more unity and clarity. In our painting, the painter uses a balanced colour, without excessive contrast. The plans succeed harmoniously one another through subtly fused light gradations. If our panel still bears some stylistic characters of the painter's youth, we nevertheless feel the beginning of an evolution towards a more and more neutral and restrained colour range, inspired by the Dutch monochrome art of van Goyen and Ruisdael. As in the Sotheby's Hunters' Landscape - sold at Sotheby's in 2007 (Fig. 3) and in the landscape of the Antwerp Museum of Fine Arts (Fig. 4), greens mixed with gray and brown alternate with sepia.
Our painting, depicts a scene which takes place in the majestic setting of a park where bouquets of trees testifies the exacerbation of a real woody lyricism, which can be seen from the years 1625- 1630. The jagged and detailed leaves are painted with great precision and the branches with flexible and nervous forms testify a search of elegance proper to the artist. As in the Landscape of the Hunter of Antwerp (Fig. 4), the wind-blown branches are twisted, intertwined and rise to the sky in an ascending rhythm. The sun's rays slide between the foliage creating alternations of chiaroscuro. The light allows the painter to indulge in the pleasure of detailing the essences. According to a predilection, Keirincx places the first plane against the light: the ground carpeted with brush, ferns and brambles, and the broken trunk. The evocations of the quivering and mysterious life of the undergrowth, are familiar motifs in the compositions of the artist.
In order to satisfy the taste of the amateurs, more seduced by compositions embellished with scenes borrowed from the fable, to the Holy Story and even to the rural life than by pure landscapes, Keirincx frequently introduced some characters in his works. His figures have sometimes been entrusted to a collaborator, notably to Cornelis van Poelenburgh, as for example in the Woodland Landscape with Diane and her suitors (Fig. 5). In our painting, Diane and her companions are pursuing a prey with their dog and fit perfectly into the landscape participating in the rhythm of the composition. We thus find, in our fairy scene, the peaceful lyricism and poetic feeling of the artist's works, which excels in the representation of a luxuriant and strange sylvan nature.
Private Collection France
E. Greindl, La conception du paysage chez Alexandre Keirincx, Jaarboek van het Koninklijk Museul voor Schone Kunsten Antwerpen, 1942-1947, pp. 115-120.
Yvonne Thierry, Michel Kervyn De Meerendre, Les peintres flamands de paysage au XVIIe siècle. Le baroque anversois et l’école bruxelloise, 1987, Bruxelles, pp. 48-57.
Fig.2. Alexander Keirincx,
Forest landscape, ca.1622
Oil on panel, 37,6 x 65,1 cm
Staatliches Museum Schwerin
Fig.3. Alexander Keirincx,
Wooded landscape with a skirmish between cavalry men and foot soldiers, ca 1630
Oil on panel, 72,5 x 103,5 cm
Fig.4. Alexander Keirincx,
Landscape with Deer Hunt, 1630
Oil on canvas, 68 x 90 cm
Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp