Tag Archives: Flemish grotesque

Grotesques in Antwerp

The Antwerp Plantin-Moretus Museum currently hosts Grotesques. A fascinating fantasy world.

Highlights include four of the Pourtraicture ingenieuse de plusieurs façon de Masques by Cornelis Floris de Vriendt and two prints of caricatures by Philippe de Soye and Hans Liefrinck I after Leonardo da Vinci.

Some photographic impressions can be found below.

See also: Flemish fantastique and grotesque

Jan van Kessel and the Flemish fantastique and grotesque



I hail from Flanders so I’m biased when I say I love Flemish art, and equally biased when I say I love the Flemish fantastique and grotesque.

It’s not every day I find something new and yesterday my eye caught the wonderful Shells, Butterflies, Flowers and Insects on White Background [image] by Jan van Kessel, senior (Antwerp, 1626 – idem, 1679).

Van Kessel senior, born in Antwerp, hometown of Rubens, where I have lived since 1987.

Furthering my research today, I find Festoon, Masks and Rosettes Made of Shells (1656) by that same Jan van Kessel. It is a “decorative and anthropomorphic composition with shells[1].

Not a classic composition as a matter of fact, more a composite of small composites actually, in the vein of those of Arcimboldo, king of composites.

The detail is reminiscent of one of the grotesque masks [image] by Joris Hoefnagel produced a hundred years earlier.

Van Kessel’s work is a species of early intermedia, located in the no man’s land between natural history illustration and fine art.