GAREMIJN, Jan Antoon
(b. 1712, Brugge, d. 1799, Brugge)


Flemish Rococo painter, the only Bruges painter to rise above mediocrity with his lively technique. He has been called - somewhat chauvinistically and flatteringly - the Flemish Boucher. In reality, he was a cheerful, popular narrator and talented craftsman, fascinated by the picturesque, coarse or even grotesque detail. Garemijn modelled his style on that of the genre painters of the seventeenth century, especially David Teniers. He was frequently asked to decorate dining rooms and salons, many of which survive in their original condition in stately homes and castles.

Garemijn's lone masterpiece is the Digging of the Ghent Canal (1753, Groeninge Museum, Bruges). The gigantic scene is not only important from the sociological and historical point of view, but is also an artistic tour de force. We have to go back over two centuries to find a similarly populous panorama in the shape of Albrecht Altdorfer's Battle of Issus (1529), in the Alte Pinakothek in Munich.