Cornelius van BELLEKIN
Oil on panel, 55.9x66.5cm
Bellekin was a Dutch artist engaged in painting, drawing and engraving – he was a leading engraver in the second half of the 17th century. He was a master of working with mother-of-pearl but his copperplate engravings were also highly valued. Cornelius was probably a son of Jean Bellequin (ca 1597/98 – 1636) who was also a mother-of-pearl worker. Bellekin’s few oil paintings depicted mostly rural and tavern scenes or town festivities. However, the artist’s creative work includes also large-format family portraits with landscape in the background.
It was typical for the Dutch School, particularly at its development stage, to consciously depict the scenes and characters in a vulgar and robust manner and withdraw from the fine aesthetics of the genre with the intention to differ from other European Schools. Together with Adriaen van Ostade and influenced by the Flemish painter David Teniers the Younger, Bellekin acts primarily as an impartial observer and portrayer of ordinary life. In his painting “Village festivity” young peasants are dancing, a violinist is playing and the villagers are discussing something among themselves. The staffages, painted with great precision and realism, vary the artist’s well-composed genre landscape. Bellekin extensively illustrates the everyday life of peasants, trying not to lose any detail. Like his contemporary masters the painter depicts the behaviour and appearance of peasants, their clothing and living quarters with utmost precision, allowing himself to idealize the life of country folk.