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  • NameBertholet Flemalle d.ä.
  • Sexmale
  • Nationality/DatesFlemish, born 1614, dead 1675
BiographyPainter of religious, historical, mythological
and allegorical subjects and portraits. Born into a
family of artists, Bertholet Flémalle was probably first
apprenticed to his father, Renier Flémalle, a stained
glass painter. He was later a pupil of the painter
Henri Trippet, before completing his training during
the 1630s with Gérard Douffet, the leading painter at
Liège in the first half of the 17th century, who had
returned from Italy around 1624. According to his
early biographer, Louis Abry (1715), Bertholet travelled
to Rome around 1638, and on the return journey
he visited Florence and stayed for some time in
Paris. In 1646 he returned to his native city. Flémalle
had a flourishing career as a painter at Liège, where
he worked for private collectors, but also received
numerous commissions from the many religious
establishments of the city. An important patron was
Canon Lambert de Liverloo, Chancellor to the
Prince-Bishop of Liège. Flémalle also made designs
for religious buildings and fittings, but none of his
architectural work has survived. In 1670, at the height
of his career, he was painter to the Prince-Bishop,
Maximilian-Henry of Bavaria, and for Louis XIV of
France he painted an allegory, Religion Protecting
France (1670, destr. 1871), for the ceiling of the audience
chamber at the Tuileries, Paris. In the same year,
he was appointed Professor at the Académie Royale
in Paris. The Prince-Bishop made him a canonical
prebendary of the collegiate church of St.Paul at
Liège.
Following his return to Liège in 1646, after nearly
ten years spent in Italy and France, Flémalle was
instrumental in introducing a taste for Franco-Roman
classicism, especially the art of Nicolas Poussin and
his followers, to an artistic milieu still dominated by
Rubens’ towering genius. As there are no signed or
dated paintings by Flémalle, a chronology of his
works is difficult to establish. He had a great impact
on the painters of Liège, influencing the work of such
artists as Renier de Lairesse and his son, Gérard de
Lairesse, as well as his pupils, Jean-Gilles Delcour,
Englebert Fisen and Jean Guillaume Carlier. Several
of Bertholet’s paintings were reproduced in engravings
by his friend, Michel Natalis.
Work
Achilles Wounded by Paris