Gillis Mostaert (Hulst c. 1528/9-1598 Antwerp)
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Gillis Mostaert (Hulst c. 1528/9-1598 Antwerp)

A village kermesse

Gillis Mostaert (Hulst c. 1528/9-1598 Antwerp)
A village kermesse
signed with monogram 'GM' (lower centre)
oil on panel
26¾ x 38¾ in. (68 x 98.5 cm.)
with Galerie Robert Finck, Brussels, 1980.
Private collection, Château Les Tours de Lenvège, Saussignac, from which acquired by the present owners in the late 1980s.
H.G. Franz, Niederländisch Landschaftsmalerei im Zeitalter des Manierismus, Graz, 1969, pp. 229-37.
Maastricht, Eurohal, Collection of the New York Historical Society & other Collections, May 1981, no. 9.
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Lot Essay

The artist was a descendant of Jan Mostaert and, according to Friedländer, a pupil of Jan Mandyn (see M.J. Friedländer, Early Netherlandish Painting, V, Leiden and Brussels, 1969, p. 60). Enlisted into the Antwerp guild of Saint Luke in 1554-5, he was a versatile artist able to adapt his style to address a wide range of subjects from mythological and biblical scenes, to hell and fire scenes in the manner of Hieronymous Bosch as well as landscapes and villages such as the present work.

It is in this latter realm that Mostaert excelled, producing a small number of village kermesses for which he is most acclaimed. Probably painted relatively late on in his career, the present picture is analogous with his Kermesses of 1583 in the Národní Gallery, Prague, and of 1589 (bearing the same monogram), in the Kunsthalle, Bremen. All three adopt a raised viewpoint and are composed using two strong diagonals established by the roads leading into the village.

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