Erasmus Quellinus II

Erasmus Quellinus II is an Antwerp painter, draftsman, engraver and tapestry designer. He comes from an artistic family. His father is the sculptor Erasmus Quellinus I (1584-1640). He is the brother of the sculptor Artus Quellinus I (1609-1668) and the engraver Hubertus Quellinus (1619-1687). Quellinus is the father and master instructor of the painter Jan Erasmus Quellinus (1634-1715).

Quellinus is a pictor doctus and in that sense is comparable to Peter Paul Rubens with whom he often collaborated in the 1630's and by whom he was influenced. Both possess an extensive library and art collection. In the spirit of Humanism, Quellinus writes the philosophical treatise, Philosophae, which has not survived. The artist also would have obtained an academic degree in Philosophy.

Quellinus is responsible for the design and in part for the execution of important decorative programmes in the context of official honourings in Antwerp. The artist also worked together with still-life specialists, amongst whom is the floral painter Daniël Seghers (1590-1661).

Erasmus Quellinus II made many altarpieces, which need to be placed within the sphere of influence of the Counter Reformation, but also history pieces and mythological and allegorical paintings. The significant influence of Rubens notwithstanding, Quellinus develops early in his career his own style with forms strongly modeled by the light. It is possible that Quellinus learned the Caravaggio-esque aspects via the work of Theodoor Rombouts (1597-1637) and Gerard Seghers (1591-1651).

Starting about 1640, his figures become sculptural and three-dimensional and resemble painted sculptures. With this, his work is connected with the oeuvre of Annibale Carracci (1560-1690), or the Classicist branch of the Baroque. Quellinus travels to Italy, but learns about Roman Classicism via his brother and sculptor Artus Quellinus I, who spent some time in Rome.

After about 1650, the Baroque Classicism evolves towards a rather rigid academicism. Quellinus develops a preference for broad, expansive architectural background settings, such as in works like Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, (Sammlungen des Fürsten von Liechtenstein, Vaduz), or Suffer the little Children to Come unto Me (Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels).

Erasmus Quellinus II dies as a rich and famous artist.

19 November 1607

Erasmus Quellinus II is born in Antwerp.


Quellinus is active in Antwerp. In 1633, he becomes the student of Jan-Baptist Verhaeghe. Around 1633-1634, he becomes Free Master in the Antwerp Saint Luke Guild. In the 1630's, the artist regularly collaborates with Rubens.


Quellinus paints his earliest dated work: The Adoration of the Shepherds (Alte Pinakothek, Munich).


Erasmus Quellinus II marries Catharina van Hemelaar.


Quellinus works on the Pompa Introitus Ferdinandi after designs by Rubens. Six signed paintings by Quellinus have survived.


Along with other artists, Quellinus works on the mythological decorations (after oil sketches by Rubens) of the hunting pavilion Torre de la Prada of Philips IV, in the vicinity of Madrid.

Beginning in 1637

Quellinus draws frontispieces for the Officina Plantininiana on the basis of instructions by Rubens.


Erasmus's brother Artus Quellinus I returns to Antwerp from Rome. Artus is influenced in Rome by the Classicism of Carracci via the work of François Duquesnoy (1594-1643). Both brothers work together and influence each other.

Quellinus paints Labore et Constantia, an allegorical song of praise to the Golden Compass, referring to the publishing house of Christoffel Plantin (Museum Plantin-Moretus/Print Room, Antwerp). The canvas is commissioned by Balthasar I Moretus (1574-1641).


Erasmus Quellinus II paints Achilles among the Daughters of Lycomedes (Groeninge Museum, Bruges).


For the Cathedral of Liège, Quellinus paints The Offering of the Holy Sacrament.


The decorations for the entrance of the Archduke Leopold Wilhelm into Antwerp are in the hands of Quellinus. The artist also makes the decorations with the announcement of the Treaty of Westphalia.

Circa 1650

Quellinus makes Portrait of a Boy (Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp). The animals are done by Joannes Fijt (1611-1661).

Circa 1656

Around this time the artist is present in Amsterdam. He works with his brother Artus Quellinus I, among others, on the decoration of the new City Hall on the Dam (Royal Palace Amsterdam).

9 November 1663

Erasmus Quellinus II is married to Françoise de Fren. De Fren is the sister of Isabella de Fren, who is married to the painter David Teniers II (1589-1642).


Quellinus paints Suffer the little Children to Come unto Me (Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels).


For the deceased Philip IV (1605-1665) of Spain, Governor of the Southern Netherlands, Quellinus designs a cenotaph.

7 November 1678

Erasmus Quellinus II dies in Antwerp.

Matthias Depoorter