WAEL, Cornelis de
(b. 1592, Antwerpen, d. 1667, Roma)


Painter, draughtsman and dealer, part of a Flemish family of artists and dealers, active in Italy. The brothers Lucas de Wael (1591-1661) and Cornelis de Wael were the sons of the painter Jan Baptist (Hans) de Wael I (1558-1633), from whom they learnt to paint. They both went to Italy c. 1610 and by 1613 had settled in Genoa. There Cornelis founded the Cenacolo Fiammingo, where he trained many young painters. Their circle of expatriate Flemings included Anthony van Dyck, who lived with them for a time and painted a double portrait of them (c. 1627; Rome, Museo Capitolino). Cornelis received commissions from Italian churches but is best known for his military pieces, harbour views and bambocciante or low-life subjects, whereas Lucas made a name for himself as a landscape painter. Jan Baptist de Wael II is primarily known as an etcher; he may also have worked in Italy.

Documentary evidence suggests that Cornelis may have collaborated with van Dyck; he may also have worked with the Italian landscape painter Giovanni Battista Vicino (fl c. 1650), since various landscapes by Vicino have figures in them by either de Wael or a painter from his circle. During visits to Rome, Cornelis came into contact with the Schildersbent, the confraternity of northern artists there, and in 1627 he was recorded in the documents of Rome's Guild of St Luke. He moved there from Genoa in 1656, following an outbreak of the plague.