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Sebastian Vrancx

1573 – Antwerp – 1647

A painter and poet from Antwerp. According to Karel van Mander, Sebastian Vrancx was the pupil of Adam van Noort, one of Rubens’ masters. Above all, he is known for his numerous paintings of battles, and scenes of plundering and attacks by brigands. However, in reality, he was a much more diverse painter who held a dominant position in the Antwerp school in Rubens’ day. He was essentially a “cabinet painter”, executing all genres except for religious paintings and portraits.

After his apprenticeship, Sebastian Vrancx spent the last few years of the 16th century in Italy. Just like Joost de Momper, it is likely, according to Charles Sterling, that he formed ties with Lodovoco Pozzoserrato (Louis Toeput), who painted elegant gatherings in Venetian landscapes while in Treviso. When he returned to his country, Vrancx was made a free master in Antwerp in 1600. For a while, he combined the Brueghelian tradition of popular scenes with the Italian style of Louis Toeput. In 1612, he was nominated dean and married the daughter of the art dealer Bartholomeus Pamphi. His paintings of battle scenes mostly date from the second half of his career. They were imitated by his pupil Pieter Snayers. As from 1613, the artist was made a member of the town guard and became captain for five years. This activity had an influence on his art. Vrancx also became a senior member of the fencers’ club. Old inventories make reference to Sebastian Vrancx’ collaboration with Jan Brueghel the Elder, Hendrick van Balen and Joost de Momper.