BLOEMEN, Jan Frans van
(b. 1662, Antwerpen, d. 1749, Roma)


Flemish painter, member of a Flemish family of painters and draughtsmen, active also in Italy and France, brother of Pieter van Bloemen. While still in their native Antwerp, Pieter was the first teacher of his brother Jan Frans - who later also studied with Antoine Goubau - and probably also of his younger brother Norbert (1670-c. 1746). From 1667 Pieter had himself trained with Simon van Douw (c. 1630-c. 1677). He is recorded in Lyon c. 1684. At about the same time Jan Frans was in Paris, until he was summoned by his brother to Lyon. There Jan Frans apparently worked with van der Cabel.

The two brothers were not happy in Lyon, however, and went to Rome. They travelled via Turin, staying there for some time. From 1686-87 they were in Rome, where they were both members of the Schildersbent, the confraternity of Dutch and Flemish artists active in Rome. Pieter was given the bent or nickname Standaart (or Stendardo), undoubtedly a reference to the banners and standards that he depicted in his scenes of soldiers; Jan Frans's facility for producing panoramic landscapes earned him the nickname Orizzonte (It.: 'horizon'), which had previously been applied to Claude Lorrain. Jan Frans did not leave Rome again, apart from an eight-month journey to Naples, Sicily and Malta, from which he returned with a large number of drawings.

Jan Frans was married in Rome in 1693, and the Dutch artist Caspar van Wittel, known as 'Vanvitelli', was godfather to the couple's first child, baptized in 1694. Although patronized by aristocratic Roman families, Orizzonte's artistic career was marred by his prolonged confrontation with the Accademia di S Luca. The precise reasons for the difficulties are unknown, but he was only finally accepted by the Accademia at the age of 80, after his third application for membership.