QUELLINUS, Jan-Erasmus
(b. 1634, Antwerpen, d. 1715, Mechelen)

Biography

Flemish painter and draughtsman, part of a family of artists, son of Erasmus Quellinus II. Sandrart records that he visited Italy before becoming a master. His stay in Venice (1660-61) is particularly well documented by a drawing in the style of Veronese, representing a Madonna with Saints (1660; Rotterdam, Museum Boymans-van Beuningen) and also by his copies after that master and other Venetian painters, mentioned in his father's bequest (1679). In Rome he joined the Schildersbent, the confraternity of Northern painters in the city, and was given the nickname of Cederboom [cedar tree]. He became a Master in the Antwerp Guild of St Luke in 1660-61 and in 1662 married Cornelia Teniers, daughter of the painter David Teniers the Younger.

Jan-Erasmus had a successful career as a painter. His work included a large number of monumental altarpieces and other religious compositions for various abbey and monastery churches in Brabant, of which the commission for the abbey of St Michael, Antwerp, is particularly notable; a huge panel depicting the Pool of Bethesda (1672; Antwerp, Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten) is one of the four remaining paintings.

In 1680 Quellinus became court painter to the Emperor Leopold I, for whom he executed many commissions, including 15 ceiling paintings that depicted scenes from the Life of Emperor Charles V (1681; fragments, Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum). Quellinus's style is an extension of his father's classicism. He enriched it, however, with a grandeur that derived primarily from Veronese, characterized most obviously by the use of impressive Palladian architectural motifs and a preference for lively details (e.g. a drawing of Christ among the Doctors, 1674; Haarlem, Teylers Museum).