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David Teniers

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The name of two eminent Flemish landscape painters ; the elder, born at Antwerp in 1582; died there in 1649; the younger; born at Antwerp in 1610; died at Brussels in 1694. Of these two men, the younger was by far the greater, eclipsing in skill the work of his father. Teniers the elder was the son of a mercer, Julian Teniers, and was brought up and trained by his elder brother. He entered for a while the school of Rubens, later on visited Italy, and studied under Elsheimer in Rome. He returned to his own country in 1606 and spent the rest of his life at Antwerp, painting landscape pictures, illustrations from rural sports, and some classical and historical scenes. His son, David Teniers the younger, was one of four brothers, David, Julian, Theodore, and Abraham, and he in his turn had a son and a grandson named David. Nothing whatever is known of the persons who taught the younger Teniers; in all probability he was brought up in his father's studio, although it has been stated by some writers that he worked under Rubens, or under Brouwer. He certainly was on terms of intimate acquaintance with Rubens, but we hear nothing of this acquaintance until 1637, when he married Anne, the daughter of Brueghel, the pupil of Rubens, and the great painter came to the wedding. The girl was not yet seventeen; she bore Teniers five children and died in 1656. Six months later, Teniers married Isabel, the daughter of an eminent person who was secretary to the Council of Brabant.

Teniers is said to have received a fortune with each wife, and to have made a great deal of money from the sale of his pictures. It is certain that he had ample means, was able to purchase a château, to live in good circumstances, and eventually to obtain admission to the ranks of the nobility after he had ceased to exercise his profession for gain. The statement of his appeal to be received as a member of an old family and the description of his coat of arms are still in existence. He was patronized by the Governor of the Netherlands, the Archduke William, and by his successor Don Juan of Austria. Philip IV and Christina of Sweden were also amongst the eminent persons who gave him commissions for pictures. He was a man of the greatest industry, and his delightful little works, perhaps numbering nearly eight hundred in all, are to be found all over Europe. As a rule, they are scenes from peasant life, painted in beautiful colour schemes and dexterously handled. They can be studied especially in the galleries of Dresden, Glasgow, the National Gallery in London, the Louvre, the Prado, the Imperial Gallery at Vienna, and the Hermitage at St. Petersburg. Of these galleries the Louvre has the greatest number, possessing nearly forty examples of the work of this skilful painter. Alone amongst the members of his family, he appears to have been a practical Catholic.

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