Balthasar van den Bossche (Antwerp, 1681 – Antwerp, 1715)
The antiques shop
Dimensions: 59×51 cm.
The scene depicted in this painting is probably that of a dissertation between artists about classical statuary, during a visit to an antiquarian’s studio. Van den Bossche, a Flemish painter of the late seventeenth century, cultivated an interest in this theme at the school of his teacher, the Flemish painter Gerard Thomas, who specializes in bourgeois interiors, enriched by the refined private collections of collectors. At the end of the century he was registered with the Painters’ Guild of Antwerp and at the beginning of the 18th he embarked on a trip to Paris.
Once back home, he will alternate his activity as a painter with that of a dealer: it is a period of great success, as often happened to painters returning from their training period abroad. In this work the painter concentrates his efforts by depicting a small group of scholars gathered within a rather essential space, sparse, compared to the living room of a great Dutch collector.
Typical is the presence of classical heads and busts, a reference point for the study of drawing and ancient art, as is the construction of the space around simple architectural elements, combined with the cumbersome stage presence of the curtains, which ensures an almost theatrical setting of the scene.
Bibl.: B. Wolters van der Wey, ‘Pictura Nova. Studies in 16th and 17th Century Flemish Painting and Drawing’, Turnhout Brepols 2015, ad vocem
Our reference: AF01163