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Frans Francken the Younger

1581 – Antwerp – 1642

Frans Francken the Younger was the most remarkable representative of his family. This prolific and varied painter worked in turn with his father, his brother and his son; he quickly became the undisputed head of the family studio which produced countless paintings of religious or profane subjects, whose picturesque portrayal is a pleasure to behold. He held an important position in his home town and numerous documents bear witness to his contemporaries’ regard for him.

Frans Francken the Younger trained in his father’s studio. He was accepted as a master of the Academy of Saint Luke in Antwerp in 1605 and became dean in 1614. When his father died, the home of Frans II became one of the most productive art centres in Antwerp. He continued the collaboration he had begun with his brother Jerome in their father’s studio, and later worked with his son Frans III. He dealt with a wide variety of genres: biblical, mythological, historical and allegorical. He also painted kunstkamers, which were highly prized by collectors. His way of depicting historical and biblical episodes by inserting a number of distractions was standard form up until the 18th century.