Jan Peeters I belonged to an important Flemish family of painters who specialized in maritime subjects. He painted both local and Mediterranean views.
In front of a Spanish fortress two ships are in distress because of the storm: a Spanish galley and an English ship.
About Jan Peeters I
Antwerp 1624 – 1677 or 1680 Antwerp
Marine and landscape painter.
Member of an important family of painters, most of them of maritime subjects. Best known is Jan ‘s brother, Bonaventura I.
Jan I was the younger brother and pupil of Bonaventura I (1614 – 1652) and of Gillis I (1612 – 1653).
Our painter, Jan Peeters I, became Master in the Painter’s Guild of Saint Luke in Antwerp in 1645.
Nine years later he got married in Antwerp in 1654.
In 1659 he spent six months in Holland designing panoramic depictions of several towns and harbours that were later engraved by Gaspard Bouttats.
Besides domestic marine scenes Jan I also painted a lot of Mediterranean scenes. He is best known for his rough seas with shipwrecks, but he was equally skilled at rendering calm waters.
His style is meticulous. He was a skilled painter of atmospheric conditions, especially of clouds. Occasionally he painted winter scenes and town views.
About the other painters of the Peeters family
- Bonaventura I was one of the most important 17th century Flemish marine painters; he painted both domestic Flemish and Dutch waters, and exotic, Turkish subjects (referring to the Eastern Mediterranean, but possibly also to the coasts of Northern Africa).
- Gillis I travelled to South America, visiting the Dutch colonies and making topographical landscapes; based on his accounts Bonaventura I also painted a few “Brazilian” coasts. He also painted landscapes.
- Catharina (1615 – after 1676), their sister, must also have painted marine paintings.
Gillis I had two sons who also became painters.
Bonaventura II (1641 – 1702) was a pupil of Bonaventura I. His landscapes show the influence of his father, his seascapes betray the impact of his uncle. Most of his Turkish subjects have until recently been wrongly attributed to his uncle, Bonaventura I.
Of Gillis II (1645 – 1678) there is only one signed and dated landscape known. He died in a convent in present-day Indonesia, then a Dutch colony, at the age of 33.
Of his third son, Willem, nothing is known.
As to our Jan Peeters I he had two children who studied painting under him, but who are further unknown: his son Jan Frans and his daughter Isabella Josina.
The famous still life painter Clara Peeters was not related to this branch of the Peeters, nor was the painter of architectural scenes Jacob Peeters.
About our painting
The Spanish flag on top of the castle is called the Burgundy cross (“Batons de Bourgogne”). It was based on the wooden cross where St. Andrew was crucified on.
At the origin it was the flag of Burgundy (including Flanders). Following the marriage of Mary of Burgundy with Maximilian of Austria in Ghent in 1477 it became a Spanish Habsburg flag up till 1785.
The design is two crossed, roughly knotted, red branches on a white field.
In 1785 Charles III of Spain decided to change this flag due to similarities with the English Cross of Saint George, a red cross on a white field. And it is precisely that flag that can be seen on the ship behind the galley.
Why should you buy this painting?
Because it is a great storm painting, typical of Jan Peeters I. Other examples can be found at the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg and the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore.