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Jacob van Loo (Sluis, nr. Bruges 1614-1670 Paris)
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Jacob van Loo (Sluis, nr. Bruges 1614-1670 Paris)

Meleager and Atalanta

Details
Jacob van Loo (Sluis, nr. Bruges 1614-1670 Paris)
Meleager and Atalanta
oil on canvas, shaped
54 5/8 x 64 3/8 in. (138.7 x 163.5 cm.)
Provenance
In the collection of the grandfather of the present owner by 1923, and by descent.
Exhibited
Haarlem, Frans Hals Museum, on loan 1997-2004.
Special Notice

No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium, which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.

Lot Essay

Van Loo is recorded as living in Amsterdam from 1642. Though initially a painter of genre scenes, it was here that he established his reputation as a portrait painter, receiving eminient commissions from, for example, Willem Frederik, the stadholder of Friesland. In 1654, the poet Jan Vos expressed his admiration for the artist, ranking him alongside such artists as Rembrandt, Govaert Flinck and Ferdinand Bol. His paintings evoke a classicist mood reminiscent of the French master Nicolas Poussin, and endeavour to represent an idealised concept of beauty. It was his success as a painter of classicist female nudes - prompting Houbraken to note that 'he excelled at painting nudes' - that is likely to have led to his place on the list of candidates for the Huis den Bosch project (he was only one of two artists from Amsterdam selected). This project was to be an elaborate combination of painting and architecture for the Oranjezaal (Hall of Orange) in Huis ten Bosch, for the court in The Hague. In 1660, a charge of manslaughter forced Jacob van Loo to flee to Paris. He was accepted into the Academy in 1663 for his portrait of Michel Corneille, now in the Musée du Louvre, Paris.

The present picture depicts Meleager presenting the head and pelt of the boar to Atalanta, whom he loved. The shape of this painting suggests that it would have formed part of an elaborate decorative scheme.
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