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Pieter Gysels

Panoramic landscape with a river and mountains

Panel: 33 x 47 cm
Signed

introduction

A true synthesis of the painter’s work, this vast river landscape illustrates, with a pictorial refinement of the highest quality, the different facets of this accomplished painter’s art. While the prominent trees framing the composition on the right are reminiscent of the recurring lush plant life in Roelandt Savery’s work, the trail of travelling peasants is a direct evocation of Jan Brueghel the Elder’s art. The sweeping river panorama is a direct reference to Martin Ryckaert’s art, while heralding the later works of Herman Saftleven or the Griffiers.

The same diversity can be found on a thematic level; take, for instance, the painting in Frankfurt, where a vast panoramic landscape with a background of mountains lies alongside a view of a town with a river in the distance. The rendering of the figures, which are microscopic, is typical of the artist. From the milkmaid crossing the fields with her buckets, which is a sort of encrypted signature for the painting, to the villagers’ spirited farandole, and the dignified and formal attitudes of the gentlefolk strolling through the seigniorial garden, the painter uses the same refinement to portray the figures that animate this sumptuous panoramic landscape, immediately placing Gysels among the best of the Flemish landscape painters of the 17th century.

Provenance :
De Jonckheere Gallery, Brussels, 1980;
Private collection.

Littérature :
G. De Jonckheere, Le Paysage dans la Peinture Flamande de 1500 à 1750, Brussels, 1996, ill. p.235.