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Permanent Collection

Jacob Pynas - 1600–1700

(Haarlem, c. 1585 − after 1650)

Born around 1585 in Haarlem. He had a brother, Jan (1583/1584–1631), who was also a painter; both of them are recorded in Rome in 1605. In 1608 we find Jacob in Amsterdam, then between 1632 and 1639 in Delft and in other Dutch towns. We know signed examples of Jacob’s work from between the years 1617 and 1648. The year of his death is not known. Jacob Pynas’ style is very similar to those of his brother Jan, his brother-in-law Jan Tengnagel, Pieter Lastman and other artists from the beginning of the 17th century, who were greatly influenced in Rome by the German painter Adam Elsheimer and who after their return to the Netherlands founded a local school of historical painting. There was once a belief that Rembrandt too had been a pupil of Jacob Pynas for a short time.

From Mannerism to Baroque

Although imported early-Baroque works prevailed in this period and those by itinerant artists, the 17th century paved the way for the future. The political circumstances in the region were relatively stabilized in spite of the Thirty Year War and the patronage gradually grew stronger. The arrival of the Jesuits in Ljubljana, the activity of the polymath Johann Weichard Valvasor, particularly his graphic workshop at Bogenšperk/Wagensperg Castle, and the foundation of the Academia operosorum at the end of the century were the key events of the time. 

Characteristic of sculptural production on the Slovenian territory in the 17th century were the so-called “golden altars”. As a rule, these were gilded and polychrome carved wooden retables with rich ornamentation, first with crustaceous patterns which turned into vine and grapes that covered architectural framework until the achantus foliage took over and obliterated architectural structure completely. The making of golden altars included several branches of fine arts: prints, carving, gilding, painting. Religious painting of the first half of the century still contains Mannerist elements; in the second half also secular motifs became more numerous, particularly genre scenes and aristocratic portraits. The artworks mainly echo northern early-Baroque influences. 

Noteworthy among the newcomers who settled in Carniola with their workshops were the painter and gilder Hans Georg Geiger von Geigerfeld in the mid-century, who had moved to Carniola from the region of the Central Alps, and the Fleming Almanach in the third quarter of the 17th century, known only by his nickname, who worked here only for a few years. The extraordinary productivity and skills of the latter are evidenced by his rare surviving works, mentions in Valvasor’s books, and aristocratic probate inventories.