TENGNAGEL, Jan
(b. 1584, Amsterdam, d. 1635, Amsterdam)

Vertumnus and Pomona

1617
Oil on canvas
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

The small group categorized as Pre-Rembrandtists includes Pieter Lastman (c. 1583-1633), Jan Pynas (1581/2-1631) and his younger brother Jacob (1592/95-after 1656), their brother-in-law Jan Tengnagel (1584-1635), Lastman's brother-in-law François Venant (1590/91-1636), and Claes Moeyaert (1590/91-1655).

Beside Jan Pynas, Jan Tengnagel is the only other member of the group who is recorded as a traveller to Italy; he was there in 1608. His early works are so close to Lastman's that they have erroneously as the better known artist's autograph pictures, but he soon developed an original style marked by large figures seen close to the foreground that almost fill the picture plane with merely a small vista of a landscape in the background done in the predictable Elsheimer-Bril tradition.

Tengnagel was at home working on a life-size scale. In 1613 and again 1623 he was commissioned to paint large group portraits of members of Amsterdam's Handboogdolen, one of the city's civic guard companies; both include self-portraits. He was a prominent public servant who held the position of deputy sheriff of Amsterdam from 1625 until his death a decade later. He apparently gave up painting about the time he assumed his important post; none of his existing pictures postdate 1624.




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