ossche Balthasar van den
(Antwerp 1681 - Antwerp 1715)
Balthasar van den Bossche studied under the Flemish genre painter Gerard Thomas (Antwerp 1663-1720), and was very much influenced by his teacher's genre style of interior painting, especially his depictions of well-furnished bourgeois rooms and conversation pieces, complete with detailed settings that helped to display his patrons' gentility. Symbols of politesse, artistic sentiment, fashion and wealth were all attributes intended to show that they possessed all the necessary material as well as social graces. Van den Bossche established a reputation for just such works, and was fascinated by the presentation of studio interiors and collectors' galleries, with the figures emblematic of the arts, as exemplified by the present pictures. Descamps recorded in 1763 that the figures in his paintings were more elegant than those of Thomas.
Van den Bossche was accepted into the Antwerp Guild in 1697 before travelling to France where for some time he had a studio in Paris. He returned to Antwerp in 1700. There he worked for an art dealer, and continued to paint with notable success, receiving patronage from important figures such as the Duke of Marlborough in Antwerp after the Battle of Ramillies in 1706. In 1774 Sir Joshua Reynolds referred to van den Bossche when writing about the French painter, Antoine Coypel (1661-1722): 'The modern affectation of grace in his works, as well as in those of Bosch (sic) and Watteau, may be said to be separated by a very thin partition from the more simple and pure grace of Correggio and Parmegiano'.
Sadly the artist's glittering career was cut short by his untimely death in 1715. He is said to have died by striking his head on a window while instructing his pupils.
Balthasar van den Bossche is represented in the following collections: Hermitage, St. Petersburg, amongst others.