Adrien van Utrecht was born in 1599. A Flemish painter whose famous paintings usually depict extravagant still-life scenes of game, fruit, and flowers, often with domestic or farmyard animals. His sumptuous Still Life paintings use an element of chiaroscuro, a prominent technique introduced in Caravaggio's paintings. Adriaen van Utrecht is known for his Baroque paintings, earning him the patronage of Spain's King Philip IV.
Utrecht's game and hunting scenes paintings demonstrate the influence of another Flemish Artist, Frans Snyders. Both artists were the driving force of a genre known as Pronkstilleven. A literal translation from Dutch is 'sumptuous 'ostentatious.' It refers to still life paintings of dead game and poultry, which are exaggerated by the excessive use of 'sumptuous' or 'ornate" objects.
Adriaen van Utrecht's oil paintings follow a tradition of genre paintings by Joachim Beuckelaer, a 16th century Flemish artist working in Antwerp. Beuckelaer's Still Life paintings include market scenes and extravagant banquets of kitchen tables overspilling with fish, fruit, vegetables, and game. Utretcht's work contains several vanitas paintings, a regular subject in Baroque paintings. Vanitas art is a symbolic remainder of the frailty of life, the certainty of death, and the transient nature of pleasure.
Dutch artist Jan van Huysem, born a hundred years later than Utrecht, also painted still life flower paintings and garlands of flowers in a similar style. Jan van Huyssem is known as the most important painter of flowers of the Dutch Golden Age. However, van Huysem's paintings are full of color and life, whereas Adriaen van Utrecht's paintings use a duller palette of color.
Utrecht studied under the tutelage of Herman de Neyt, an Antwerp art dealer and collector, following which he traveled throughout Europe. Adriaen van Utrecht's wife Constancia was the daughter of another artist, and together they had 13 children. Constancia was an accomplished artist, working in the same style as her husband and often sharing his studio. Although Utrecht was very successful and earned the patronage of the nobility, when he died in 1652, he was not a wealthy man. Adriaen van Utrecht collaborated with several other artists working in Antwerp at the time. He is known to have contributed elements of still life paintings by artists Jacob Jordaens and David Teniers the Younger.
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