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Jacques Bellange

Painter, draughtsman, engraver, commercial artist, etcher and court painter

Born
ca. 1575 in Bassigny
Died
1616 in Nancy

2 Works by Jacques Bellange

Biography

It is difficult to pin down the person and activity of Jacques Bellange. Archives assure us that between 1602 and 1617 he worked in the service of the dukes of Lorraine in Nancy, an art-loving court open towards both Italy and France. In this highly cultivated atmosphere filled with festivities and courtly ceremonial, Bellange produced an extensive oeuvre of paintings and decorations, none of which survives. He can only be judged on the basis of his roughly 50 etchings, mainly on religious subjects, in which the human figure predominates in an inflated, Mannerist style and often in mystical rapture. For this reason, Bellange's work, wholly identified with European Mannerism, has been subjected to varied criticism: whereas contemporaries and even writers in the later seventeenth century (Sandrart 1675) greatly valued and admired this 'manner', the more classically oriented connoisseurs of the eighteenth century (for example, P. J. Mariette, Abecedario) dismissed his depictions as being in bad taste. In that they relate to his etchings, a core set of drawings is known to be by his hand, though this is obscured by a great many other sheets attributed to him.