Daniël Seghers

Daniël Seghers, ‘Plantin-Moretus/Prentenkabinet, Antwerpen’The Jesuit Daniël Seghers is a painter, who for the majority of his life is active in Antwerp. He is a student of Jan Brueghel I (1568-1625) and is primarily well known for his floral pieces.

Daniël Seghers is specialised in the rendering of garlands and festoons crafted from flowers, which were placed as a frame around devotional paintings, whether in niches or medallions. The devotional paintings are done at the hands of other artists, amongst which are such painters as Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), Erasmus Quellinus II (1607-1678) and Abraham van Diepenbeeck (1596-1675). In addition, Seghers also paints flower vases.

There is a symbolic agreement between the sort of flowers and the religious paintings, particularly with regards to the Saints. Stylistically, in the beginning, there is clearly the influence of Jan Brueghel I. From 1630 on, Seghers strives for a more lively painting of flowers in more naturally appearing arrangements. Seghers's flowers light up against the darker background and have a sculptural character. Blooming seasons were not respected, just as with the case of Brueghel.

In the work of Seghers, one can read the Counter Reformation message of the Jesuit order. In addition to the obvious meaning of the devotional paintings, the flowers are meant to awaken the contemplation of the faithful.

Seghers paints for an international clientele: both important religious figures as well as worldly rulers belong to his client base. The work of Daniël Seghers experiences significant imitation.

3 December 1590

Daniël Seghers is born in Antwerp.

Circa 1601

Seghers's father Pierre dies. The young Seghers moves with his mother to the North, probably to Utrecht. This is due to his mother's conversion to Calvinism.

1605-1609

Seghers is active in Utrecht.

1609

The artist is active in Antwerp.

1611

Seghers becomes Free Master in the Antwerp Saint Luke Guild.

1614

After his conversion to Catholicism the artist joins the lay brothers of the Jesuit order in Mechelen.

1621

Daniël Seghers is painter at the Collège de Bruxelles and paints two large floral garlands for the Cathedral of Saint Michael and Saint Gudula.

1625

The artist gives up the vows as priest. From now on he signs his work with Daniel Seghers Societatis Jesu.

1625-1627

Seghers is present in Rome in this period. The artist works together with Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665) on a few religious paintings.

For Cardinal Ludovisi, Seghers paints a floral garland that is filled with putti by the hand of the painter Domenichino (1581-1641).

1627

The artist is back in Antwerp.

1649

Charles II, King of England, visits Seghers in his studio in Antwerp.

2 November 1661

Daniël Seghers dies in Antwerp.

Matthias Depoorter