Painters of Food…..Jacob/ Jakob Gillig….

mediums used: oils

surfaces used: canvas

low price range: $5,000

high price range: $35,000

The artist was born in 1636 in Uttrecht, Holland.

Gillig didn’t start painting until his twenties. When he first started painting he signed his work with the name Gulek.  He never registered with the artist’s guild. He worked as a merchant and then as a prison warden. He got married to a daughter of a well collected marine painter named Abraham Willaerts.

Whilst I couldn’t find an absolute master artist that he worked with it is believed he studied with William Ormea who specialized in fish paintings, thus giving the artist the inspiration for so many wonderful paintings of fish.  Ormea loved to paint marine scenes in the background with ships and in the foreground would paint fresh water fish.

Early on his paintings Gillig painted sea water fish, later in his career he mainly painted fresh water fish.  The artist was a brilliant art marketer and was highly collected in his home city of Uttrecht. He worked in a variety of sizes and would charge more for paintings where he spent a great deal of time painting the individual scales on a fish. Note the liveliness of the fish tails in his works, similar to a flower leaf for giving added depth to a painting.

Another artist I will profile later, Abraham Mignon, was thought to be inspired Gillig and became more famous than Gillig.  Mignon was also from Uttrecht.

From an artistic standpoint besides the wonderful triangles and diamond shapes formed by the fish, the artist painted rope with fine detail in most of his works. At the end of the rope many loose strands are coming apart, this also gives his paintings added depth.

His work is in national museums in Holland, Germany, and Hungary.

In this food series it will be great fun to look at the works of old masters such as this artist and see how the same subject matter has been handled during different eras of art.

The artist painted portraits as well as still lifes when he began painting. After some portraits that didn’t really turn out he stuck to painting the still life and mainly painted fish. The two portraits shown in the gallery are part of a museum collection in Britain.

I enjoy his works because you should paint what you love. His paintings of fish show a great sense of design, the fish are usually arranged in a triangle or diamond shape. Fish are interesting to paint as their grey scales reflect light.  When I see a painting done of fish, I compare it to the ones by this artist.

He died in 1701 in Uttrecht, Holland.

How about trying a fish painting today! Be creative!  Enjoy yourself!


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