OOST, Jacob van, the Elder
(b. 1603, Brugge, d. 1671, Brugge)

Adoration of the Shepherds

Oil on panel, 147 x 114 cm
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg

Jacob van Oost the Elder lived in Italy from 1621 to 1628. After returning to Bruges, he worked there for the rest of his life, principally as a painter of altarpieces, in response to an unceasing flow of commissions from churches for decoration in the spirit of the Counter-Reformation. Nothing is known of the work he did in Italy, but his earliest dated painting, the Adoration of the Shepherds of 1630 is Caravaggist in its treatment of light and its use of local colour, and even more in its choice of ordinary-looking common people for the characters.