An extremely detailed oil on panel, depicting the assumption of the virgin Mary after Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640). Italian school, 18th century.
The word after is often used in museums, art galleries and antique stores. The meaning is very simple, it is a copy of that specific artist’s work where the word ‘after’ is placed before or after the artist’s name. It is very important not to forget that the word ‘after’ has nothing to do with ‘faking’ the artist’s work.
An (unknown) artist can paint a copy of a famous work which is exhibited in a museum. This copy if not a fake, because the (unknown) artist is not claiming to be the original artist of the work. When the (unknown) artist wants to sell his own copy, the word ‘after’ is placed before or after the original artist’s work. Now, the work is not a fake, but a nicely made copy.
Using the word ‘after’ for copies has already been done for centuries. But there are different levels of ‘afters’. An ‘after’ can already be an ‘after’ when an (unknown) artist is copying in 2020 the work ‘The starry night’ by Van Gogh. The (unknown) artist is far removed from the original artist by time and association. A very high level of an ‘after’ is when the original artist is involved or approves the ‘after’. Even an original signature by the original artist can be placed on the ‘after’.
Even tough an ‘after’ is a copy, the value and quality can still be very high and ‘afters’ will stay highly collectible.
Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640)
Considered the most influential artist of the Flemish Baroque with extreme colors, smooth sensuality, emphasized movement and dramatic artistic scenes. Peter Paul Rubens’ paintings are a worldwide famous phenomenon. Born in Brabant, the southern part of the Netherlands (now modern-day Belgium) on the 28th of June 1577. Rubens worked mainly in Antwerp (Belgium) and was known by his huge variety of works. He was designer of cartoons, portraits, altarpieces, portraits and landscapes with classical, Christian, mythological and allegorical subjects. A list, made by Michael Jaffé counts 1403 pieces made by his hands, excluding all the countless pieces made by his own workshop in Antwerp.
Besides being an artist, he was also a classically educated humanist scholar, diplomat and writer, knighted by Charles I of England and Philip IV of Spain. He wrote a book with illustrations of the palaces in Genoa, which was published in 1622 as ‘Palazzi di Genova’. He even designed his own house and became an important art dealer connected to George Villiers, the first duke of Buckingham. It seems that Rubens had the biggest private art collection of Antwerp.
Rubens died after a very successful career from heart failure on the 30th of May 1640. To commemorate and honor Rubens, a burial chapel for the artist and his family was built in the Saint James’ Church in Antwerp. Construction on the chapel was completed in 1650 when the son of Rubens’ friend, the sculptor Johannes van Mildert (Cornelis van Mildert) delivered the altar stone. About 80 descendants from the Rubens family were interred in the same chapel in Antwerp.
French school, Dutch school, Italian school and so much more. The word ‘school’ is used with various meanings and often to describe a certain type of painting style.
In its narrowest sense, the word ‘school’ can denote a group of painters who worked under de influence of another artist. A great example is the ‘school of Leonardo da Vinci’ were a large group of artists worked in the studio of, or under the influence of, Leonardo da Vinci. They are also known as ‘The Leonardeschi’.
In its widest sense, the word ‘school’ can denote a whole country of painters and describe a typical style which reflects the painters of that country. An example is ‘Italian school’ or ‘French school’. In another sense, the word ‘school’ can also denote a certain region of a country. The ‘Venetian school’ applies to painters who worked under local influence or with general similarities in color or technique. Famous examples of ‘Venetian school’ artists are Lazzaro Bastiani (1430-1512), Giovanni Bellini (1430 – 1516) and Giulio Campi (1500-1572).