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Alexander Adriaenssen (also spelt Adriansen; 1587 – 1661) was a Flemish Baroque still-life painter, particularly known for his renderings of fish.
Adriaenssen was born in Antwerp, the son of the musician Emmanuel Adriaenssen and Sibilla Crelin and the older brother of the painter Vincent Adriaenssen. He was baptised on 17 January 1587. In 1597 he was registered as the pupil of Artus van Laeck. In 1610 he became a master of the Guild of St. Luke. He paid his dues each year until 1633. He was buried on 30 October 1661 in St. James' Church, Antwerp. Works by him survive with dates from 1623 to 1661, but the peak of his career was approximately 1630–1650. The signature "A. Neck" on one oil painting is probably a badly preserved instance of Adriaenssen's.
According to Arnold Houbraken, who devoted only one line of text to him, Adriaenssen "painted still lifes, fruit, fish, etc." He was influenced in his still-life motifs by Frans Snyders, including for instance "artichokes, poultry, and live cats". He also produced pronkstillevens (ostentatious still lifes) with expensive glasses and dishware. The subgenre of pronkstillevens was developed in Antwerp during the 1640s. However, he is known particularly for his renderings of raw fish, a common topic of Dutch still-life painters which he portrayed in more than 60 works, more than any other artist in 17th-century Antwerp. Many of his fish still lifes were relatively small and inexpensive works.
Stylistically, he was influenced by the school of Haarlem. His compositions are characterised by an asymmetrical diagonal layout—a triangle standing on end flanked by ellipses—with objects overlapping over multiple planes for greater depth. He uses a "sober" palette, "tending to monochrome"; he has also been described as important for the "purity of his colour".
"Alexander Adriaenssen", Netherlands Institute for Art History, retrieved 29 June 2014.
Hans Vlieghe, Flemish Art and Architecture, 1585–1700, Yale University Press Pelican history of art, New Haven, Connecticut: Yale, 1998, ISBN 9780300070385, p. 219.
"A. Neck: Southern Netherlands painter", Netherlands Institute for Art History, retrieved 29 June 2014.
"Schilderde Stilleven, Fruit, Visschen &c": Alexander Adriaenssen biography in De groote schouburgh der Nederlantsche konstschilders en schilderessen (1718) by Arnold Houbraken, courtesy of the Digital library for Dutch literature (Dutch)
Walter A. Liedtke, Dutch Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art; New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 2007, ISBN 9781588392732, pp. 32, 34.
Julie Berger Hochstrasser, "From the Waters: Fish Still Life", in The Magic of Things: Still-Life Painting 1500–1800, ed. Jochen Sander, Exhibition catalogue, Städel Museum Frankfurt, Kunstmuseum Basel with Hessisches Landesmuseum Darmstadt, Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz, 2008, ISBN 9783775722070, pp. 185–211, p. 188.
Peter C. Sutton, Marjorie E. Wieseman, et al., The Age of Rubens, Boston: Museum of Fine Arts; Harry N. Abrams, 1993, ISBN 9780810919358, p. 77.
Eddy de Jongh, et al., ed. Liesbeth M. Helmus, Fish: still lifes by Dutch and Flemish masters 1550–1700, Exhibition catalogue, Utrecht: Centraal Museum, 2004, ISBN 9789059830059, p. 22.
54: Sea Fish and Oysters, Berger Hochstrasse, p. 198.
Jay Jacobs, The Encyclopedia of World Art, London: Octopus, 1975, ISBN 9780706404951.
Godelieve Spiessens. Leven en werk van de Antwerpse schilder Alexander Adriaenssen (1587–1661). Verhandelingen van de Koninklijke Academie voor Wetenschappen, Letteren en Schone Kunsten van België, Klasse der Schone Kunsten, 48. Brussels: AWLSK, 1990. ISBN 9789065694270. (Dutch)
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