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Lucas Achtschellinck: The Painter of Virtuous Landscapes


Depicting the scenes of roads, verges and trees through brilliant colors and broad brush strokes and with subtle silvery gradation of light and shade on tree trunks, especially birches, the Flemish landscape painter and textile artist, Lucas Achtschellinck, also known as Lucas Achtschellinckx, is acclaimed as the most important representatives of the heyday of Flemish Baroque. 

Famous for his virtuous landscape paintings, Achtschellinck was baptized in Brussels on 16 January 1626. He was registered in the Brussels Guild of Saint Luke on 26 October 1639 and began his training with Pieter van der Borcht. It is also likely that he received some education from Lodewijk De Vadder. Afterwards, he spent some time abroad, before completing his master in Brussels.

Soon after earning his master license, Achtschellinck received commissions from the church, as documented by payments for the Brussels St. Michaels church (1659, 1662). He also left behind preliminary drawings that document his very productive activities in tapestry. Together with Bout, Janssens, Ykens and Van Schoor, he created models for large tapestry series e.g. six models each for the series “Dido and Aeneas”, “Perseus and Andromeda” and for peasant scenes after Teniers.

In 1674, Achtschellinck married Anna Parys in his hometown. The marriage was witnessed by the painter Frans Duchatel. Between 1659 to 1686, he employed eight apprentices in his workshop and in 1687 he became the deacon of the Brussels guild.

The paintings on canvas by Achtschellinck are difficult to identify nowadays, as he did not signed a single painting. There are a number of landscapes with a clear stylistic relationship that are attributed to him. His style resembles that of Lodewijk De Vadder. His landscapes are characterized by bright colors and highly decorative value. He was a follower of Rubens’ style of landscape painting and was also influenced by Jacques d’Arthois.

Achtschellinck painted largely wooded sceneries for churches and cloisters, which were then garnished by others by biblical characters and events. He painted the landscapes in many of the works of the Antwerp painter Gaspar de Crayer. In his oeuvre, Achtschellinck increasingly turned to classic baroque landscapes of a French and Italian character.

Lucas Achtschellinck died on May 12, 1699, in Brussels.


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