Our painter is the younger brother and pupil of Philips Wouwerman.
This exotic Eastern European battle scene must represent a clash between Polish and maybe Russian troops.
About Pieter Wouwerman
Haarlem 1623 – 1682 Amsterdam
Painter of genre scenes set in landscapes or against an architectural backdrop, of cavalry scenes and of winter landscapes.
Pieter was born into a family of painters: he was the son of Pauwels (Alkmaar circa1585 – 1642 Haarlem) and the brother of Philips (Haarlem 1619 – 1668 Haarlem) and of Jan (Haarlem 1629 – 1666 Haarlem) Wouwerman.
- There is little known about Pauwels, who seems to have painted history subjects. His father, a saddle maker from Brussels, was one of those many Flemish Protestants who had fled to the North, in his case to Haarlem.
- Philips is the best known and the most versatile of the three sons of Pauwels.
- Of Jan there are not many paintings known; he must have specialised as a landscape painter.
Our painter, Pieter, monogrammed his paintings with “PW”. His elder brother Philips with an intertwined “PHILS” followed by a “W”.
Pieter studied painting under his father, Pauwels, and his elder brother, Philips and possibly under the landscape painter Roelant Roghman (Amsterdam 1627 – 1691 Amsterdam).
In 1646 Pieter became a member of the Painter’s Guild of Saint Luke in Harlem.
Pieter was active in Haarlem until circa 1657. The second part of his career until his death in 1682 he spent in Amsterdam.
About our painting
Pieter Wouwerman was a versatile painter of human outside activity linked with horses: his favourite subjects were hunters, cavalrymen and travellers.
He did not paint many battle scenes, in fact just a few.
As to the subject of our painting: it looks like a foreign subject.
I did document another rather exotic battle scene by Pieter Wouwerman that was sold at Hampel in 2006. That painting represents a clash between Polish (red flags and red sashes worn around the middle) and Turkish troops (who in those days tried to take Ukraine). Seeing the similarities of those Polish soldiers with ours one might think that the soldiers and cavalrymen wearing orange-red are Polish. Our painting was indeed called a Polish battle scene in the past. During the second half of the 17th century the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was going through rough times: internal anarchy, wars with Sweden, Turkey, Russia, the Cossacks and Tattars.
Why should you buy this painting?
Because it is one of the rare battle scenes known by Pieter Wouwerman, who was a very good horse painter.