A Landscape with a Convoy on a Wooded Track under Attack
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Sebastian Vrancx ( Antwerp 1573 - Antwerp 1647 )
Vrancx is best known for his depictions of battle scenes and was probably the first artist in the northern or southern Netherlands to attempt this subject-matter. He was the son of Jan Vrancx and Barbara Coutereau. Van Mander’s claim that he trained as a painter with Adam van Noort seems possible but is unconfirmed. Vrancx’s earliest known work, a drawing, is closely related to the Antwerp scrollwork decorations of Cornelis Floris and Cornelis Bos. The next drawings and paintings were executed during Vrancx’s stay in Italy (c. 1596–1601) and show strong parallels with the early style of Paul Bril, who was working in Rome, and of Jan Breughel I. Typical examples are the Massacre of the Innocents and its pendant Crossing the Red Sea (both 1600; Parma; on dep. Rome, Palazzo Montecitorio); they reveal a liking for anecdotal detail and for colourfully dressed figures who move in a decorative, but conventional landscape. These features remained characteristic of his style throughout his career. The vividly gesticulating figures and the clumsy trees, which look as if they are made of marzipan, were used only in this early period, before the guild year 1600–01, when Vrancx became a free master.