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  • NameJan Baptiste Huysmans
  • Sexmale
  • Nationality/DatesFlemish, born 1654, dead 1716
BiographyLandscape painter. The son of a builder, Hendrik
Huysmans, and the brother of the landscapist
Cornelis Huysmans, Jan Baptist became a master in
the Antwerp Guild of St. Luke in 1676/1677.
Between 1694 and 1709 he registered four apprentices
in the guild. Jan Baptist is said to have been a
pupil of his elder brother, Cornelis, who had studied
at Antwerp with Gaspard de Witte, the “creator of
the pseudo-classical Flemish landscape”, and then
with Jacques d’Arthois, a pioneer of the Brussels
school of decorative landscape painting. Jan Baptist’s
style certainly seems close to those pictures thought
to be by Cornelis. It is not known whether he went to
Italy, but like his brother, he was influenced by the
17th-century Roman school of landscape painting, by
Salvator Rosa and Gaspard Dughet. The grandeur of
his woodland scenes is, indeed, Italian in character,
while the handling is entirely Flemish. Jan Baptist did
not employ classical subject matter, and he often
introduced animals and peasant figures of Flemish
taste into his pictures.
As a landscapist Jan Baptist has been overshadowed
by his older brother and reputed teacher, a very successful
artist who worked in a similar style. It is often
quite difficult to distinguish their works from each
other. However, a small number of signed and dated
works by Jan Baptist from the last decade of the 17th
century have come to light, just sufficient to be able to
outline his style. Like his brother, Jan Baptist was a
landscape painter of both native Flemish and pseudo-
Italianate scenery. His art is, however, primarily related
to that of the Brussels school of decorative landscape
painting in the 17th century, especially to his brother’s
teacher, D’Arthois, after whom he painted wide deco-
rative compositions, usually depicting the edge of a
forest with a brightly-lit road lined with sandy banks,
or rocky outcroppings, in the foreground. Although his
works have often been mistaken for those of Cornelis,
Jan Baptist’s landscapes are more expansive. He is generally
considered a better colourist, making less use of
bright colours; his pictures were on the whole executed
with less vigorous brushwork.
Landscape with a Road through a Forest
Landscape with High Trees near a Ravine