Jan Peeters the Elder

A view of Antwerp with the Rode Poort (Porta Rubea)

Jan Peeters the Elder was born in Antwerp in 1624. He was first taught by the relatively unknown painter Joannes Boots; afterwards, he became a pupil with his older brother, the marine painter Bonaventura Peeters. In 1642 he became a member of the guild of St Luke. Although he did produce a few portraits and architectural studies, he mostly specialized in landscapes, marines and cityscapes. Of the latter he produced a great many on his journeys, which took him across France and Italy and as far as the coast of Libya and Egypt. It has been suggested that some of his cityscapes were commissioned for military purposes, as they often show the strategically important points in the depicted cities.

The present work, a view on the north side of Antwerp as seen from the bastion of theĀ Porta Rubea (‘Red Gate’), shows the 16th-century ‘Spanish’ city walls (so-called because they were constructed under the reign of the Emperor Charles V; they were actually designed by Italian military engineers) near the renaissance Red Gate (completed in 1555), with the surrounding moat. As all of this was sadly demolished in the nineteenth century as the city expanded, the drawing may be considered an important historical document on the topography of mid-seventeenth-century Antwerp.

Artist: Jan Peeters the Elder (Antwerp 1624 - 1677)
Medium: black chalk, pen and brown ink and brown and blue wash on laid paper
Dimensions: 90 x 143 mm
Inscribed: 'Roy Poort Tot AntwerPen', upper left