Hendrick van Balen I - Herse and her Sisters with Mercury
Herse and her Sisters with Mercury
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Hendrick van Balen I (Antwerp c.1575 - Antwerp 1632)

Hendrick van Balen was a leading Antwerp painter who specialised in small cabinet pictures which often depicted mythological scenes. He travelled to Italy in 1592 where he may have met Hans Rottenhammer (1564-1625), who exerted a great deal of influence upon his style. In Antwerp, he collaborated not infrequently with his contemporaries, Joos de Momper II (1564-1635) and Jan Brueghel I (1568-1625). Indeed, he often provided for Brueghel the figures for his landscapes and the fruit and flowers for garlands – evidence of his great skill in this area can be seen in the exquisite detail of a garland suspended by a hovering cherub in this present work. A testament to his artistic ability can be deduced from the pupils under his tutelage: in 1609, the year in which he was appointed dean of the Guild of St. Luke, van Balen taught Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641) as well as Frans Synders (1579-1657).