Theodoor van Loon, The Martyrdom of Saint Lambert, ca. 1616-1617

Theodoor van Loon (1581/82-1649) was one of the first painters in the Southern Netherlands to be heavily influenced by Caravaggio’s work and style. Like his contemporary Rubens, he was inspired by the Italian masters, developing his own powerful and unique style. Van Loon was one of the most prominent painters of his generation, executing prestigious commissions for the court of the Archdukes Albert and Isabella and for various religious orders and churches in Brussels and the surrounding region. Over time, his work and career were overshadowed however. By joining forces, BOZAR and the Royal Museums of Fine Arts Belgium want to give visitors the opportunity to (re)discover this unique artist.

Van Loon’s powerful, original Baroque style still makes a strong impression on us today because of its majestic, almost three-dimensional vivid figures, modelled by the light and shadows around them. Like Barocci and Caravaggio, he created compositions with larger than life figures, with sweeping gestures and full faces. In the same vein as the artists from Bologna, Van Loon’s compositions are well organised, with a distinct colour palette, but he also pays great attention to texture and ornamentation, like the artists of the North. Van Loon’s work is mainly of a religious nature, and like Rubens he was a painter of the Counter-Reformation, executing commissions for churches in and around Brussels as well as for the Basilica of Our Lady of Scherpenheuvel.

The exhibition will feature around fifty works, including representative paintings, prints and a drawing by Van Loon as well as a selection of works of painters who influenced him or artists he influenced in turn. After Brussels, an adapted version of the exhibition will travel to the  Musée national d’histoire et d’art in Luxemburg.

More information

From 10 October 2018 until 13 January 2019