Painters of Food……Abraham Mignon…..


mediums used: oils

surfaces used: panel and canvas


This artist was supposedly partially inspired by the previous artist Jacob Gillig.  Both of them spent time in  Uttrecht. Mignon learned painting floral scenes from both Dutch and German master level painters.

low price range: $1,200

high price range: $ 1,200,000

Of all the Dutch artists this one paints the best tulips. Floral scenes like his were amazing in their compositions with very little overlapping of shapes, the artist was still able to achieve a great deal of depth. The artist painted them one at a time as it would be  very expensive to have all the flowers, some of which are out of season, and paint them together.  The very wealthy of the Dutch society only displayed their wealth thru flowers one at a time using a tulilpier.

In most red tulips the artists use greys in painting the tulip. This artist uses more of a white and this causes the flowers to look like they were freshly cut and exploding with life. In some of his still life works he paints the flowers on a shelf as if you were looking thru a window perhaps. The upside down U shape. By lengthening the bottom shelf to the edge of the painting, different from most anybody that used this technique in their works, the work has a great deal of added depth.

He might have been inspired by Gillig to paint some fish, but this fellow could paint anything. Not only wonderful flowers, but even the insects and animals he painted have a very lifelike quality to them.  The best rabbit work I have ever seen was by Durer, this artist has a similar manner in painting wildlife. Even his birds were amazing.

In one of the paintings in the gallery check out a pocket watch with the key attached. Even the numerals on the watch were painted with a high level of skill and attention to detail. In many masterworks the leaves are darkened or greyed out to support the flowers. Mignon seemed to paint the leaf same as he did any other part of the painting, with one hundred percent accuracy.  He painted the best leaves I have ever seen.

The artist could render the texture of anything. In his scenes with grapes for instance you see the reflective qualities of the grapes. The reflective and magnifying qualities of the glass. The softness of the cloth. The wetness of a freshly cut piece of fruit. Even the wings of the dragonflies and the non glass part of the beer mugs reflect a great deal of light. Many historians say Heda was the best painter of reflections, but this artist is just as good. In some pictures you can see window reflections painted perfectly in half filled wine glasses. The metal of the plate and granite or table made of a slab of rock. The artist gives the viewer so many different textures to ponder and think about the viewer never tires at looking at a supposed still life.

The artist was born in 164o in Frankfurt Germany. His father was a merchant.  At the age of nine he was apprenticed to a famous painter named Jacob Marrell.  Masrrell  moved from Germany to the Netherlands and took  Mignon with him in 1664. From 1669 and beyond both Marrell and Mignon were part of the Uttrechts artist’s guild. Once joining the guild he learned a great deal from working with  Jan De Heem.  He worked with the artist from 1669 to 1672.  Mignon’s work was collected by royalty such as King Louis the XVI.

The artist was able to learn a great deal for many reasons. He started working with professional artists who specialized in floral scenes from before the age of 10. He also was able to study from many different masters that lived in both Germany and Holland. Its sad the artist died relatively young at only 39 years of age in 1679.  His still life works inspire me to paint more than a Rembrandt!

For your art homework, try painting a red tulip in honor of this artist!

Happy painting!






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