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Permanent Collection

Jacob van Kerckhoven - 1600–1700

(Antwerp, c. 1637 – Venice, after 1712)

Born in Antwerp towards the year 1637, died in Venice after 1712. In 1649 he was a pupil of Jan Fyt. Perhaps as early as the sixties he moved to Venice, where he was given the name Giacomo (Jacopo) del Cimitero or Jacopo (Giacomo) da Castello. His early work was strongly influenced by Jan Fyt, but later Kerckhoven developed a fairly personal style. His canvases, quite a large number of which have been found, represent accurate depictions of animals and objects in an almost metallic light, which is often reminiscent of some paintings from Lombardy from the early 18th century. He collaborated with many painters who were active in Venice, adding still life motifs with figures on their canvases.

Lit.: La natura morta in Italia, Editor Francesco Porzio, Vol. I., Milano 1989 (Text: A. Safarik); Settecento, Vol. I-II, Milano 1989 (biogr. Marina Monticelli); De Maere & Wabbes: Illustrated Dictionary, Vol. I and II, Brussels 1994.

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.