Gillis van Coninxloo

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Portrait of Gillis van Coninxloo by Andries Jacobsz Stock, published in 1610 by Hendrik Hondius I. Portrait of Gillis van Coninxloo (II). by Andries Jacobsz. Stock.jpg
Portrait of Gillis van Coninxloo by Andries Jacobsz Stock, published in 1610 by Hendrik Hondius I.
Landscape with the Judgement of Paris, in Mannerist world landscape style. Gillis van Coninxloo - Landscape with the Judgement of Paris - Google Art Project.jpg
Landscape with the Judgement of Paris, in Mannerist world landscape style.

Gillis van Coninxloo (now also referred to as Gillis van Coninxloo II but previously referred to as Gillis van Coninxloo III) (24 January 1544 – January 1607) was a Flemish painter of landscapes who played an important role in the development of Northern landscape art at the turn of the 17th century. He spent the last 20 years of his life abroad, first in Germany and later in the Dutch Republic. [1]

Southern Netherlands Historical region in Belgium

The Southern Netherlands, also called the Catholic Netherlands, was the part of the Low Countries largely controlled by Spain (1556–1714), later Austria (1714–1794), and occupied then annexed by France (1794–1815). The region also included a number of smaller states that were never ruled by Spain or Austria: the Prince-Bishopric of Liège, the Imperial Abbey of Stavelot-Malmedy, the County of Bouillon, the County of Horne and the Princely Abbey of Thorn. The Southern Netherlands were part of the Holy Roman Empire until the whole area was annexed by Revolutionary France.

Germany Federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north and the Alps, Lake Constance and the High Rhine to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.

Dutch Republic Republican predecessor state of the Netherlands from 1581 to 1795

The United Provinces of the Netherlands, or simply United Provinces, and commonly referred to historiographically as the Dutch Republic, was a confederal republic formally established from the formal creation of a confederacy in 1581 by several Dutch provinces—seceded from Spanish rule—until the Batavian Revolution of 1795. It was a predecessor state of the Netherlands and the first fully independent Dutch nation state.



He was born in Antwerp and studied under Pieter Coecke van Aelst, Lenaert Kroes and Gillis Mostaert. He travelled in France after completing his training. He became a member of the Antwerp Guild of Saint Luke in 1570 and worked in Antwerp until 1585 when Antwerp fell to the Spanish. He left first for Middelburg and then in 1587 for Frankenthal where he was active until 1595. He then moved to Amsterdam where he died in 1607. [1]

Antwerp Municipality in Flemish Community, Belgium

Antwerp is a city in Belgium, and is the capital of Antwerp province in Flanders. With a population of 520,504, it is the most populous city proper in Belgium, and with a metropolitan area housing around 1,200,000 people, it's the second largest metropolitan region after Brussels in Belgium.

Pieter Coecke van Aelst Flemish painter

Pieter Coecke van Aelst or Pieter Coecke van Aelst the Elder was a Flemish painter, sculptor, architect, author and designer of woodcuts, goldsmith's work, stained glass and tapestries. His principal subjects were Christian religious themes. He worked in Antwerp and Brussels and was appointed court painter to Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor.

Gillis Mostaert Flemish painter

Gillis Mostaert the Elder was a Flemish Renaissance painter and draughtsman active in Antwerp in the second half of the 16th century. He was a versatile artist who worked in various genres including landscape, genre and history painting. Gillis Mostaert was known in particular for his winter landscapes and his scenes with fires and nocturnal scenes and his works in this genre were among the most sought after pieces of his time. The artist operated a large workshop in Antwerp, which supplied works to prominent patrons. He was a regular collaborator with leading Antwerp artists of his time.

He had many pupils including Pieter Brueghel the Younger, Govert Govertsz van Arnhem, Willem van den Bundel, Gillis van Coninxloo III, Jonas van Merle, Hercules Seghers and Jacques van der Wijen. [1]

Pieter Brueghel the Younger Flemish painter

Pieter Brueghelthe Younger was a Flemish painter, known for numerous copies after his father Pieter Bruegel the Elder's work as well as his original compositions. The large output of his studio, which produced for the local and export market, contributed to the international spread of his father's imagery.

Willem van den Bundel Dutch Golden Age painter

Willem van den Bundel (1575–1655), was a Dutch Golden Age painter.

Hercules Seghers dutch painter and engraver

Hercules Pieterszoon Seghers or Segers was a Dutch painter and printmaker of the Dutch Golden Age. He has been called "the most inspired, experimental and original landscapist" of his period and an even more innovative printmaker.


Forest Landscape, 1598, Liechtenstein Collection Gillis van Coninxloo - Forest Landscape.jpg
Forest Landscape, 1598, Liechtenstein Collection

Coninxloo ranks as one of the most important Flemish landscape painters of around the turn of the 17th century. He exercised a strong influence on Jan Brueghel the Elder, Pieter Schoubroeck, Roelandt Savery, and other Flemish and Dutch landscape painters of this period.

Jan Brueghel the Elder Flemish painter

Jan Brueghelthe Elder was a Flemish painter and draughtsman. He was the son of the eminent Flemish Renaissance painter Pieter Brueghel the Elder. A close friend and frequent collaborator with Peter Paul Rubens, the two artists were the leading Flemish painters in the first three decades of the 17th century.

Pieter Schoubroeck German artist

Pieter Schoubroeck, or Schaubroeck, was a German landscape painter of the Frankenthal school.

His early landscapes were often Northern Mannerist versions of the established world landscape type, though with close views of trees already narrowing the panoramic view. Beginning in the 1590s Coninxloo introduced a new approach into Flemish landscape painting, with close-up views of forests reminiscent of Albrecht Altdorfer and the Danube school nearly a century earlier and almost or entirely shutting out a distant view. While earlier forest landscapes had used forests as the backdrop for human activity, van Coninxloo turned them into the subject proper by submerging tiny human figures in elaborate compositions of trees on a hugely exaggerated scale. A Forest Landscape of 1598 in the Liechtenstein Collection is the first work to take this approach to its extreme: the sky is only visible in a few patches between branches and a single tiny human figure reclines under a tree. [2] This painting achieves great intensity and atmospheric quality through its fine shades of brown and green and its accentuated handling of light. [3]

World landscape

The world landscape, a translation of the German Weltlandschaft, is a type of composition in Western painting showing an imaginary panoramic landscape seen from an elevated viewpoint that includes mountains and lowlands, water, and buildings. The subject of each painting is usually a Biblical or historical narrative, but the figures comprising this narrative element are dwarfed by their surroundings.

Albrecht Altdorfer German painter

Albrecht Altdorfer was a German painter, engraver and architect of the Renaissance working in Regensburg, Bavaria. Along with Lucas Cranach the Elder and Wolf Huber he is regarded to be the main representative of the Danube School setting biblical and historical subjects against landscape backgrounds of expressive colours. As an artist also making small intricate engravings he is seen to belong to the Nuremberg Little Masters.

Danube school art movement

The Danube School or Donau School was a circle of painters of the first third of the 16th century in Bavaria and Austria. Many were also innovative printmakers, usually in etching. They were among the first painters to regularly use pure landscape painting, and their figures, influenced by Matthias Grünewald, are often highly expressive, if not expressionist. They show little Italian influence and represent a decisive break with the high finish of Northern Renaissance painting, using a more painterly style that was in many ways ahead of its time. According to Alfred Stange, Albrecht Altdorfer and Wolfgang Huber were two of the central most figures within the Danube School. Altdofer was the artist that created most of the artworks associated with the Danube School. The term "Danube School" was most likely not what these groups of artist called themselves but a name that derived hundreds of years after a man by the name of Theodore von Frimmel was observing a painting in 1892 in the Danube region around Regensburg, Germany. When artist Lucas Cranach's art work was recognized to have stylistic elements of the "Danube" the name "The Danube School" began to take a deeper meaning.

"The river valleys of Austria and western Bavaria have often been praised as the land of the 'Beautiful Danube' and not in just song but in the pictorial arts as well."

During his stay in Frankenthal from 1588 to 1595, he influenced several better known Flemish émigré landscape painters, who are now collectively referred to as the 'Frankenthal School'. The early 17th century art historian Karel van Mander wrote about Coninxloo in his Schilder-boeck . Van Mander stated that Coninxloo's teacher Pieter Coeke van Aelst was his cousin, and that I know at this time of no better landscape painter, and I notice that they are following his manner very much in Holland. [2]

Karel van Mander painter from the Southern Netherlands

Karel van Mander (I) or Carel van Mander I was a Flemish painter, poet, art historian and art theoretician, who established himself in the Dutch Republic in the latter part of his life. He is mainly remembered as a biographer of Early Netherlandish painters and Northern Renaissance artists in his Schilder-boeck. As an artist and art theoretician he played a significant role in the spread and development of Northern Mannerism in the Dutch Republic.

<i>Schilder-boeck</i> Dutch art history book by Karel van Mander

Het Schilder-Boeck or Schilderboek is a book written by the Flemish writer and painter Karel van Mander first published in 1604 in Haarlem in the Dutch Republic, where van Mander resided. The book is written in 17th century Dutch and its title is commonly translated into English as 'The Book of Painters' or 'The Book of Painting' and sometimes as 'The Book on Picturing'. Het Schilder-Boeck consists of six parts and is considered one of the principal sources on the history of art and art theory in the 15th and 16th century Low Countries. The book was very well received and sold well. Karel van Mander died two years after its publication. A second posthumous edition, which included a brief, anonymous biography of van Mander was published in 1618. This second edition was translated by Hessel Miedema into English and published in 1994-1997 together with a facsimile of the original and 5 volumes of notes on the text.

The influence of his work spread in Holland by means of his designs for large-scale prints, mainly engraved by Flemish émigré printmakers Nicolaes de Bruyn and Jan van Londerseel who published in the Dutch Republic. [4]


Some of his paintings are:


  1. 1 2 3 Gillis van Coninxloo at the Netherlands Institute for Art History (in Dutch)
  2. 1 2 Vlieghe, 175-176
  3. Gillis van Coninxloo, Forest Landscape, 1598, at the Liechtenstein Collection
  4. Larry Silver, Peasant Scenes and Landscapes: The Rise of Pictorial Genres in the Antwerp Art Market, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012, p. 164-165

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