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Antoine Mirou

1570 – Antwerp – after 1661

Antoine Mirou is one of the painters who worked alongside Gillis van Coninxloo at the artists' colony at Frankenthal in the Palatinate. Few details of his life are known. The date and location of his birth does not appear on any document. His parents, Hendrik Mirou, a pharmacist, and his first wife, settled in Frankenthal in 1586. They were among the Calvinist emigrants who fled the Netherlands after 1562 in order to join Frederick III of the Palatinate. In 1602, Anton Mirou married Susanna Coninxloo, the daughter of Jasper Coninxloo. They apparently had no children. There is no mention on any document of any educational tour made by the artist, to Italy for example. It is possible that he stayed for a time in Bad Schwalbach near Wiesbaden in the Taunus; such a sojourn is indicated by a drawing in the Munich prints gallery, an engraving made in 1620 by Matthäus Merian and twenty-six views of the site engraved after the work of Antoine Mirou.

In 1620, the artist's presence in Frankenthal is documented for the last time. He probably left the city not long after that, since in 1623, it fell to the Spanish. It is not known where Mirou settled after this. A Landscape with hunter (Staatliche Museen in Berlin, Gemäldegalerie) is on display in Berlin, signed and dated 1653. It is quite certain that the painter was Mirou. The literature also mentions a landscape signed and dated 1661 in the Picture Gallery in Parma. If the latter painting is indeed authentic, Mirou appears to have lived for at least ninety years. Very little is known of his life and his work has practically never been the subject of scholarly investigation. The paintings of Mirou were influenced by the landscapes of Gillis van Coninxloo and Pieter Schoubroeck (around 1570-1608). Currently available data suggests that the artist treated only a few themes in his work: wooded landscapes characterised by dense trees filling the entire surface of the painting as well as scenes of lively village streets nestled in a rocky landscape. Around 1620, the village scenes begin to become increasingly sparse; they begin to be oriented more towards reality, as demonstrated by the depictions of Bad Schwalbach.