Jan Frans van Bloemen known as the Horizon (Antwerp, 1622 – Rome, 1749)
Landscape with Roman view
Oil on canvas, 135×97 cm.
The gaze is turned to the gates of the city and the road that leads to Rome is dotted with ancient ruins and commoners who rest from the fatigue of the journey.
In this painting, van Bloemen can be recognized from the point where the landscape is lost in the atmosphere, in the center of the canvas, a custom that earned him the nickname “Horizon”; we find his predisposition to make landscapes clearer and brighter, influenced by Claude Lorrain. But his manner is completely imbued with the naturalism of Gaspard Dughet, as indicated by the sources.
The artist trained in Antwerp but, following the success of his brother Pieter, he will soon begin his stays abroad, first in Paris and then in Italy. In Turin he obtained some assignments that earned him the praise of Vittorio Amedeo II and since 1688 his presence is attested in Rome.
Here he is fascinated by the monuments of the city, but in particular by the countryside of the Roman castles, to which he will dedicate a large part of his production. He probably settles in Zagarolo after having lived in via Margutta together with other Flemish painters; his success as a painter of “pastoral Rome” attracted both the admiration but also the envy of many: Carlo Maratta tried – unsuccessfully – to introduce him to the Academy of San Luca between 1699 and 1713. But the landscape genre was still very much opposed in its official recognition at the time, as it was still considered a “minor” genre.
Van Bloemen will see his great talent recognized by the Academy, with a unanimous vote only in 1742, at the age of eighty.
Bibl.: Pascoli nel 1732 e dagli archivi romani consultati dal Hoogewerff
Our reference: A04127