BLOEMEN, Pieter van
(b. 1657, Antwerpen, d. ca. 1720, Antwerpen)


Flemish painter, member of a Flamish family of painters and draughtsmen, active also in Italy and France, brother of Jan Frans 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), and in 1673 he became a master in the Antwerp Guild of St Luke. The following year he travelled to Rome. He is recorded in Lyon about a decade later (c. 1684) in the company of the Dutch artists Adriaen van der Cabel and Gillis Weenix. At about the same time (c. 1684-85) Jan Frans was in Paris, until he was summoned by his brother to Lyon. 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.

Pieter left Rome in 1692, after having had the Flemish painter Frans Vanier as his assistant (1689-92); he was back in Antwerp in 1694 and became dean of the Guild of St Luke there in 1699.

Pieter's production of paintings was prolific; most are landscapes with figures and animals, caravan scenes with camps and resting travellers and animals, military and genre scenes and horse markets. He was at his best painting animals, which he also provided for works by other artists. His period in Italy was the most successful of his career, and his work continued to bear traces of its influence to the end of his life. Characteristic of van Bloemen's style are carefully grouped 'still-lifes' of animals, open, Italianate landscapes with one or two monuments to convey the 'Roman' atmosphere and the lively colouring of the figures' costumes contrasted to the more sombre greys and browns of the herds and ruins. Typical works include a Herd of Cattle in the Ruins of the Roman Forum (Karlsruhe, Staatliche Kunsthalle); a Blacksmith with a pendant Drinking-place (both in private collections); Riders in a Roman Landscape (1700; Dresden, Gemäldegalerie); a Caravan (1704; Madrid, Prado); a Cavalry Camp (1708; Rome, Palazzo Barberini); and the Market between Roman Ruins (1710; Dresden, Gemaldegalerie). His drawings are mainly landscapes and figure and animal studies from life.