Artists painting food….The Weenix family dynasty…. Painters of the game still life

low price range: $1,000

high price range: $301,000

mediums used: oils

surfaces used: canvas

Nothing I enjoy more than talking about art made from members of the same family.  The best family business in the world. Your child emulates your techniques and you get to spend time with them teaching. In the United States we have a few art families such as the Peale family known for wonderful still lifes and paintings of famous people such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. The Wyeth family, Andy died a few years back but the still lifes of both Andy, Jamie, and the Wyeth sisters show very high levels of talent.  My favorite painters of snow and the city, the Wiggins family. Guy Wiggins is in his nineties and still painting! Lastly we have the Gruppe family known for painting the East Coast areas of the United States. These families have produced great artists for at least 3 generations.

Jan Weenix the elder and the younger were a father and son duo of the Netherlands who gained acclaim for their paintings of fowl and other animals. When I think of bird artists I think of live birds painted by Camille Engel or Isabelle du Toit. The Weenix painters seem to capture the moment in time when the animal has just been killed and is ready to prepare for a meal. Though the animals are dead they seem to have a very fresh and lively feel to them. Its as if the rigor mortis and stiffening of the body has been mysteriously avoided.

The records kept during the 1600s wasn’t very good so the exact dates escape us but the Jan Weenix the younger was born around 1621 in Amsterdam. The artist died around the age of forty. He was a very prolific painter with many capable of painting many genres.  He was one of the first Dutch artists to paint Italian harbor scenes.  He also became known for painting dead fowl. Father was an architect. The artist had speech impediments making him a loner type. Studied in Rome for a short period of time before moving to Utrecht. Died around 1660.

Jan Weenix the younger was born around 1640. He was raised in a castle the family owned in Utrecht. He was a very capable student and many works that were thought to be of the father have now been accredited to the Jan Weenix the Younger. Had thirteen children, 3 died at a young age.

If you are in London make sure to see some of this artist’s wonderful works with game and animals at the National Gallery and also the Wallace Collection.

Next time you see a bird painting check out the feathers!  My two favorite Golden Age painters of feathers are Weenix and Durer, we can learn many lessons from viewing any works of these artist. For Durer my favorite work is the hare. The rabbit’s essence is captured perfectly.

Happy painting!


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