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Jan Frans Van Bloemen , nicknamed l’Orizzonte Landscape with a Fortified Town and Figures along a River
18th century
Material and technique
oil on canvas
136 x 106 cm
Alessandro Zuccari
Van Bloemen, who was born in Antwerp, was a true specialist in the art of landscape painting. Here, he depicts a broad rural scene, at the centre of which an ancient fortified town perches on the edge of a rocky hillside. On the right, the roof of a church and huge bell tower emerge above a thick curtain of trees and bushes. Slightly lower down, a picturesque waterfall cascades into a wide river, on the banks of which peasants, shepherds and a herd of goats move about. In the foreground, a girl carrying a bundle on her head stops to talk with a traveller.  The broad panorama, charged with atmosphere, is framed on the left, like a stage curtain, by oak trees, which close off the composition in a pleasing manner.
Experts in eighteenth-century art consider van Bloemen’s paintings to be among the greatest examples of the classical Arcadian style of the early part of the century. The profound empirical naturalism that the artist developed during his training under Gaspard Dughet at times approaches the ‘classical ideal’ of the landscapes depicted by the Carracci brothers and their followers, subsequently evolving into softer original compositions. The painting, with its figurative rendering of the famous literary locus amoenus (pleasant place), succeeds in describing with admirable grace and fine chromatic effect the scene of a bright spring day.
Landscape with a Fortified Town and Figures along a River
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