KESSEL, Jan van, I
(b. 1626, Antwerpen, d. 1679, Antwerpen)


Flemish still-life and flower painter active in Antwerp, where he became a Guild member in 1645. He continued the traditions of his grandfather, Jan "Velvet" Brueghel, and was also influenced by Daniel Seghers. Jan van Kessel painted many animals (especially insects), garlands and bouquets of flowers, as well as some mythological scenes. His choice of subject leaned towards those which included animals and plants; for example, he painted Noah's Ark. He is best known for small, jewel-like pictures, often on copper, of insects or shells against a light background, executed with strong colour and great exactitude. Good examples of his prolific output are in Oxford (Ashmolean), Cambridge (Fitzwilliam), and Madrid (Prado).