MAHU, Cornelis

Creator

MAHU, Cornelis
b. The Netherlands, 1613 - 1689
Mahu was born in Antwerp. Little is known about his training before he became master of the Guild of St. Luke in 1638. In 1633 he married Brigitta Wolfvoet, who was the daughter of the painter and art dealer Victor Wolfvoet I and brother of the painter Victor Wolfvoet II. It is possible that his father-in-law was his master. Mahu was a versatile painter who practiced in various genres including still lifes, genre scenes and seascapes. He was not always an original painter but showed a very high level of craftsmanship in his compositions – his work captures the spectator's eye with its vibrant contrasts of light and dark. An important influence on his still lifes were the monochromatic "breakfast pieces" (ontbijtjes) or 'banquet pieces' (banketjes) of the Haarlem school of still life painters such as Pieter Claesz. He stressed realism in his still lifes while also incorporating the vanitas symbols so typical in northern Europe at the time. Furthermore, Mahu was one of a few Flemish artists who painted 'guardroom scenes'. Guardroom scenes are a type of genre scene that had become popular in the mid-17th century, particularly in the Dutch Republic. They often included mercenaries and prostitutes dividing booty, harassing captives or indulging in other forms of reprehensible activities. Reminiscent of the work of 16th century painters in Antwerp, Mahu was known to often include a religious scene within his guardroom compositions. Although better known for his still lifes and genre scenes, Mahu produced a number of seascapes usually depict ships in distress surrounded by a raging sea and heavy clouds. His palette uses a mixture of greens and browns.

Citation

MAHU, Cornelis, b. The Netherlands, 1613 - 1689, and Mahu was born in Antwerp. Little is known about his training before he became master of the Guild of St. Luke in 1638. In 1633 he married Brigitta Wolfvoet, who was the daughter of the painter and art dealer Victor Wolfvoet I and brother of the painter Victor Wolfvoet II. It is possible that his father-in-law was his master. Mahu was a versatile painter who practiced in various genres including still lifes, genre scenes and seascapes. He was not always an original painter but showed a very high level of craftsmanship in his compositions – his work captures the spectator's eye with its vibrant contrasts of light and dark. An important influence on his still lifes were the monochromatic "breakfast pieces" (ontbijtjes) or 'banquet pieces' (banketjes) of the Haarlem school of still life painters such as Pieter Claesz. He stressed realism in his still lifes while also incorporating the vanitas symbols so typical in northern Europe at the time. Furthermore, Mahu was one of a few Flemish artists who painted 'guardroom scenes'. Guardroom scenes are a type of genre scene that had become popular in the mid-17th century, particularly in the Dutch Republic. They often included mercenaries and prostitutes dividing booty, harassing captives or indulging in other forms of reprehensible activities. Reminiscent of the work of 16th century painters in Antwerp, Mahu was known to often include a religious scene within his guardroom compositions. Although better known for his still lifes and genre scenes, Mahu produced a number of seascapes usually depict ships in distress surrounded by a raging sea and heavy clouds. His palette uses a mixture of greens and browns., “MAHU, Cornelis,” UCSB ADA Museum Omeka, accessed September 25, 2022, http://art-collections.museum.ucsb.edu/items/show/3197.