Gillis van Coninxloo III is arguably the most important landscape painter working in Northern Europe during the second half of the 16th century, and a key member of two important schools – the Antwerp School, into which he was born; and the Frankenthal School, which he helped found and of which he can be considered the leading artist. As such, he is one of the most interesting and notable Flemish artists of his generation. His move from Antwerp to Frankenthal, and ultimately to Amsterdam, belongs to the moment when the large-scale migration of artists and other intellectuals, spurred on by the religious tumult of the age, shifted the currents of artistic and cultural influence, creating new and fruitful channels of cross-pollination between the traditions of Germany and the Northern and Southern Netherlands. In the realm of landscape painting, which was first truly born as a self-sufficient genre only a few decades earlier, in the rocky valleys of Patinir’s Wallonia, this migration had a particularly earth-shaking effect; artists born and formed in the Southern Netherlands, in the unfiltered influence of Patinir and his followers (Herri met de Bles and Pieter Bruegel I first and foremost amongst them), exported these innovations to neighbouring lands. Landscapists like Gillis Hondecoeter, Alexander Kierincx and – above all – Gillis van Coninxloo took the revolutionary new genre of landscape painting which had been nurtured in Flanders during the fertile years of the mid-16th century, and brought them to the northern Provinces, sowing the seeds of what would become one of the most characteristic aspects of Dutch landscape painting.
We are grateful to Dr. Luuk Pijl for confirming the attribution on the basis of photographs, and for dating the picture to c. 1595.