Cornelis Mahu was a versatile Flemish painter, active in Antwerp.
Our storm scene is typically Flemish, influenced by the Antwerp specialist Bonaventura Peeters I. Most of Mahu’s paintings are influenced by Dutch examples, as he had married into a family of Flemish art dealers who traded a lot of these paintings.
About Cornelis Mahu
Antwerp 1613 – 1689 Antwerp
Mahu became a Master in the Antwerp Guild of Saint Luke in the year 1638/39.
Although a Flemish painter some of his paintings look very Dutch. The reason is simple. In 1633 Mahu married Brigitta Wolfvoet. Her father, Victor Woflvoet I, and her brother, Victor II, were art dealers; they sold a lot of Dutch paintings. Cornelis Mahu must have learned Dutch painting through them; some old scholars erroneously thought he might have been a pupil of Willem Claesz. Heda, for in his early years Mahu regularly copied still lifes by this famous master.
Cornelis Mahu was a very versatile painter. He painted
- marine paintings influenced by the Flemish painters Bonaventura I and Jan I Peeters, some also by the Dutch painter Jan Porcellis.
- still lifes, some very Dutch, Protestant “ontbijtjes” influenced by Willem Claesz. and Gerrit Willemsz. Heda, but also Flemish still lifes reminding of Jan Pauwel Gillemans I.
- genre scenes, inspired by the Flemish painter David Teniers II or by the Dutch painter Adriaen van Ostade. Cornelis’ son, Victor (circa 1665 – 1700/01), continued painting genre scenes in his father’s footsteps.
Cornelis had, besides his son Victor, three pupils: the best known one was the flower still life painter Gaspar Peeter Verbruggen I (1635 – 1681).
About our painting
Our painting stands very close to similar marine paintings painted by Bonaventura I Peeters (Antwerp 1614 – Hoboken 1652). Actually some of the unsigned stormy seas given to Peeters in the past might well have been painted by Mahu. Both Mahu and Peeters were active in Antwerp.
Bonaventura Peeters, who had been a pupil of Andries van Eertvelt, specialised in marine paintings. But he was such a good figure painter that he also collaborated with both Pieter Neeffs the Elder and the Younger, painting the staffage in some of their church interior scenes (for example in the signed examples in the National Gallery of London and in the Kunsthistorisches Museum of Vienna).
Why should you buy this painting?
Because it is such a lively storm scene.