BALEN Hendrik van
Van Balen was the small-scale figure painter most strongly influenced by Rubens. He is said to have been taught by Adam van Noort in Antwerp, as was Rubens. He spent the time between 1592 and 1602 in Italy, primarily in Venice. He set up a reputable studio in Antwerp, where he trained a large number of artists including Anton van Dyck and Frans Snyders. Van Balen's favourite subjects were mythological and historical scenes, and he had a large repertoire of female nudes, which may well have been the initial cause of his popularity. He preferred to collaborate with the landscape painters Rubens, Brueghel the Elder and the Younger, and Josse de Momper. Together with them, he created high-quality paintings.
BRUEGHEL Jan the Elder
After returning to Flanders after six years in Italy, Jan Brueghel the Elder became a member of the Guild of St. Luke in Antwerp and was made dean in 1602. Together with his colleague and friend Rubens, he was the favourite painter of the Dutch archducal couple Albrecht und Isabella. Unlike van Balen und Rubens, Brueghel never had a large studio. He painted primarily landscapes and small flower pieces, which earned him the sobriquet of "Fluweleen Brueghel" (Flower Brueghel).
Diana Resting after the Hunt
Together with three nymphs, Diana, the Greek goddess of the hunt and of wild untamed nature has retired to a small island in the stream and attends to her toilet after the exertions of the hunt. Hendrik van Balen set this idyllic group of figures in a lush woodland landscape by Jan Brueghel. In addition to the landscape and the staffage figures, there is a further thematic group: the still life in the foreground depicting the game which the hunters have just killed. This is thought to have been painted by Frans Snyders, who worked in van Balen's studio and is considered a specialist in the painting of dead animals. The heirs of the Balen/Brueghel artists' community were their sons, Balen the Younger and Brueghel the Younger. Their work resembled that of their fathers so closely that this undated picture could equally well have been executed by the second generation of artists.
Gabriele Groschner, Thomas Habersatter, Erika Mayr-Oehring (Ed.): Masterworks. Residenzgalerie Salzburg. Salzburg 2002, p. 38