ABRAHAM BLOEMAERT AND HIS SONS - Paintings and Prints
aetas aurea xi
Marcel Georges Roethlisberger
Biography by Marten Jan Bok
1993. 2 vols. in 4to. VIII, 710 pp. text and over 1250 ills. on 439 plts. (35 in color). Cloth bound with dustjacket
ISBN 90 70288 83 4
This is the first monograph on the leading Utrecht painter Abraham Bloemaert (1566-1651) and his four sons who were painters and engravers. Bloemaert emerges as the foremost master of Utrecht, his stature comparable to that of his contemporaries Hendrick Goltzius and Cornelis van Haarlem.
The output of Abraham Bloemaert is considerable: over 200 extant paintings and 625 prints designed by him and engraved by such masters as Matham, Saenredam, Bolswert and Cornelis and Frederick Bloemaert. His stylistic development during an activity of sixty years leads from mannerist works in the style of Spranger and the school of Haarlem to a realist approach, a Caravaggesque interlude, a stint at court art, and a final classicizing style. He treated a multitude of themes from the Old and New Testament, altarpieces, mythological works, landscapes, and genre pieces, with important contributions in each field. A fervent Catholic with Jesuit ties, he is the chief representative of Dutch Catholic art. Connected with his lifelong teaching activity are the 166 prints of the Tekenboek.
The book opens with an introductory text which sums up the art of Abraham and places it into the context of his time. The bulk of the book is the catalogue which includes in chronological sequence all the extant and the firmly documented lost paintings by Abraham, with copies and imitations, and all the original engravings designed by him. They comprise the 380 engravings by Frederick and the 60 engravings by Cornelis Bloemaert designed by their father. Separately catalogued are 30 dated drawings which provide support for undated works, and 35 comparative works by other masters.
This is followed by a complete study of the fine oeuvre of Hendrick Bloemaert, the closest continuator of Abraham, hitherto largely neglected: 120 extant paintings of genre scenes, religious themes, portraits, and mythologies. Finally a study of Adriaen Bloemaert. A large proportion of the works of Abraham and his sons are here studied and reproduced for the first time.
The book closes with a fully documented biography of Abraham Bloemaert and his sons and a list of pupils; this portion is the work of the Utrecht historian Marten Jan Bok.