Broeck, van den

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Flemish family of artists. The painter Jan van den Broeck (d 1551 or after) of Mechelen had three sons who became artists. All three moved to Antwerp, where (1) Willem van den Broeck was active as a sculptor, as was his son Raphael van den Broeck (fl 1585–99). Willem's two brothers, (2) Crispin van den Broeck and Hendrik van den Broeck (b Mechelen, c. 1530; d Rome, 28 Sept 1597), were probably both trained as painters by their father and then, according to Guicciardini, by Frans Floris in Antwerp. Hendrik's career was subsequently spent entirely in Italy, while Crispin, except for a short visit to Middelburg in 1564, remained in Antwerp, where he also designed and made prints. He taught engraving to his daughter Barbara van den Broeck (b c. 1558–60), who was also active as an engraver in Antwerp.(1) Willem [Guillaume] van den Broeck (b Mechelen, c. 1520; d Antwerp, 11 March 1579). Sculptor. He began his training in his native town and continued it on a subsequent journey to Italy. In 1557 he was admitted as a master to the Guild of St Luke in Antwerp, where he became a citizen in 1559. He is documented in 1566–7 as receiving payment for three statues for Antwerp Cathedral. In 1571 he executed a base for the life-size bronze statue (destr. 1577) of Don Fernando Alvárez de Toledo, Duque de Alba, in the citadel of Antwerp. He seems also to have been in demand with foreign patrons. Possibly through the mediation of his friend Abraham de Hel (1534–98), a painter from Antwerp residing in Augsburg, he was commissioned in 1560 to produce five alabaster reliefs, showing scenes from the Old and New Testaments, for an altar in the Dominikanerkirche, Augsburg (now Röm. Mus.). An alabaster relief of the Crucifixion (1560), signed g. p. f. (Guilelgmus Paludanus fecit), is in the collections of the Maximilianmuseum, Augsburg. Van den Broeck produced in Antwerp other sculptures in marble and alabaster for export, including relief panels (c. 1563) for the palace chapel in Schwerin of the dukes of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and three chancel screens (1571; destr.), sent to Spain. Together with Cornelis Floris II he is named as the architect of the Stadhuis in Antwerp and is especially noted for his work on the gables. Van den Broeck's artistry, his sensitive, not too linear surface treatment of alabaster (the preferred material in the Netherlands in the mid-16th century) combined with especially fine detail work, is best seen in his small-scale sculptures—statuettes, reliefs and small groups—which were much sought after by private collectors. Some of these, such as a marble group of Venus and Cupid (1559) at the manor house of Hamal in Tongeren, Belgium, mark the transition to the Baroque.


From The Grove Encyclopedia of Northern Renaissance Art in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Renaissance Art.

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