About Jan Tilens
Also known as Hans or Johannes van Tilens.
Antwerp 1589 – 1630 Antwerp
His mountainous river landscapes are closely related to Joos de Momper II (Antwerp 1564 – 1635 Antwerp); the early ones also show the influence of Paul Bril (Antwerp or possibly Breda 1553/54 – 1626 Rome), the later ones of Lucas van Uden (Antwerp 1595 – 1672 Antwerp).
Both de Momper and Bril were highly regarded Flemish landscape painters who studied art and landscapes in Italy. De Momper returned to Antwerp, while Bril remained active in Rome from 1575 until his death over 50 years later. Both made an evolution from Mannerist to realistic, but still very poetic landscape painting.
Tilens’ Italian landscapes with ruins testify of his stay in Italy; these views are closely related to Willem (Guilliam) van Nieulandt II (Antwerp 1584 – 1635 Amsterdam).
According to the painters’ biographer Karel van Mander (1548 – 1606) in his famous “Book of Painting” (“Schilderboeck”), Tilens spent one year in the workshop of Willem van Nieulandt II, who specialised in views of Rome. He had himself been a pupil of his uncle Willem I van Nieulandt and of Paul Bril in Rome. Upon his return he worked in Antwerp (1608 – 1628) and in Amsterdam (1604 – 1606 and 1629 – 1635).
Jan Tilens became a master in the Guild of Saint Luke in Antwerp in the year 1612/13.
He married in 1614 and had five children.
Sometimes Tilens used staffage painters, such as Hendrick van Balen I and Frans Francken II, for painting the figures into his landscapes.
About our painting
This is a traditional Mannerist, panoramic landscape from the early 17th century:
- the trees on both sides of the composition and the dark foreground serve as a framing devise, leading our view into the painting;
- the landscape itself is divided in several distinct shots traditionally divided over the brown foreground, green middle distance and blue background. The technical name for this perspective system is ‘coulisse landscape’, referring to the drapes and curtains used on a theatre stage.
- the view point of the painter and the horizon line are high.
Typical of Tilens are his detailed observation, delightful brushwork, rich colour palette and sense for atmospheric conditions.
Here he clearly absorbs the influence of both de Momper and van Uden.
Why should you buy this painting?
Because in this beautiful and poetic panoramic view one senses the admiration and astonishment of its Flemish painter, coming from a flat country, when confronted with the sheer beauty of the hills and mountains that he saw on his way to Italy.