(b. 1581, Antwerpen, d. 1642, Antwerpen)

Sebastiaan Leerse in his Gallery

Oil on panel, 77 x 114 cm
Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp

Apart from paintings dealing with social customs and mores, there was a great demand from contemporary patrons of the arts for decorative canvases. An attractive example is provided by the large number of art gallery paintings, a specialism which arose in the 17th century, in which the patron is portrayed in the midst of his collection, and in which the artist expresses the ideas and attitudes of his time. Frans Francken II, who painted the Antwerp merchant Sebastiaan Leerse in his Gallery together with his second wife and their son, was a master in this field. Paintings of this kind have both aesthetic and documentary value, as the depicted paintings could largely be identified.