Our work illustrates a painter's workshop full of life filled with visitors and assistants.
In a large room with a high ceiling stretched with a wine-colored sheet, a motley mix of objects and paintings, completed or almost, allow us to imagine the animation and activity that reigns in this workshop.
In the foreground on the left, marble and terracotta busts litter the floor, mixed with old maps and papers, alongside the celestial globe on which one of the workshop assistants is leaning.
In the center of the composition, a lady who is being portrayed remains calm in the midst of the comings and goings of visitors. The attentive servant arrives with a pitcher and glasses of water.
On the easel an almost completed canvas of this noble lady, whose artist is bringing the final finishing touches, wearing a red cap, palette and brushes in hand, stops, her head turned towards her assistants.
To his left, a large Medicis vase, on which is perched a parrot out of its cage, held on a leash by one of the assistants whose head is visible behind a plinth covered by a magnificent oriental carpet in shimmering colors.
The imposing sculpture of Hercules is positioned at the grand opening against the backdrop of a landscape dominated by a blue sky and bushy trees.
All the paintings suggest that the painter specializes not only in portraits but also in religious, mythological and still life painting.
The composition is enriched with vases, curiosities, paintings, antique busts, a painter's workshop is thus transformed into a cabinet of curiosities and through the choice of such iconography, the painter thus presents the artist as an intellectual and claims for him an essential place in society, equivalent to that of the humanist, collector and scholar.
Antwerp School, circa 1700, attributed to Gérard Thomas
Dimensions: canvas h. 60 cm, l. 46.5 cm
Ebonized wood frame
Frame: h. 80.5 cm, l. 67 cm
Artist's studio, Gérard Thomas, circa 1700, Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp
Gérard Thomas was born in Antwerp in 1663, apprenticed in 1688, twice dean of the guild (in 1695 and 1706). Circa 1700 he specializes in interior painting, drawing inspiration from the works of David Teniers and views of interiors from the studios of artists, alchemists, apothecaries, geographers and philosophers. This theme is influenced by a tradition of Antwerp amateur cabinets, a sort of private museum of wealthy Flemish merchants.
This iconography, set up by Gérard Thomas, is taken up by his students, such as Balthazar Van den Bossche as well as the painters of his circle such as Joseph Hooremans for example.