Jacob Jordaens
Flemish painter



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Jacob Jordaens
Flemish painter
Average: 5 (1 vote)

Date of Birth

May 19, 1593

Place of Birth

Antwerp, Belgium

Date of Death

October 18, 1678

Place of Death

Antwerp, Belgium

More about Jacob Jordaens

soesterling's picture


Influenced by Rubens and influencer of Jan Steen, Jacob Jordaens is the middle child of Flemish painting. 

Despite obvious talent, people only gave Jordaens attention when Rubens wasn’t around. Rueben’s has gout let’s call Jordaens!… to use Rueben’s sketches to complete his commission for the Cardinal-Infante Ferdinanrd. Oh, someone needs to finish the Queen’s Greenwich chambers! Jordaens is great at following Ruben’s designs! Even after becoming the #1 artist in Antwerp (following Ruben’s death in 1640, of course) Jordaens was stuck in Ruben’s shadow, finishing his Hercules and Andromeda commission for Philip IV of Spain. 

It may have taken Jordaens a while to get to the top, but he didn’t seem to mind taking the scenic route. He was the first of eleven children born to a rich linen merchant who would later hook him up with cheap canvases. He studied with the same teacher, Adam van Noort, for eight years and eventually married his eldest daughter. By all accounts he was a productive and happy man… except for the whole religious persecution thing. 

You see, Jordaens was born a Catholic (to this day approximately 75% of the city’s population identifies as Catholic) in 1593, the Protestant Reformation hit Antwerp with violent protests in 1566 and the Eighty Years’ War began in 1568. In other words, Jordaens lived in a time and place that constantly questioned religion, the rights of the governed, and the excess of those governing. When Jordaens converted to Protestantism towards the end of his life, Antwerp was still under Spanish occupation (the Inquisition was still very much a thing mind you). Whether it was due to his artistic reputation, or the fact that he continued to accept commissions for Catholic churches he managed to avoid any severe punishments for his beliefs.  This doesn’t mean that he kept his head down, he was fined 200 pounds for heretical writings, and many art historians point to satire in his works. 

mhoutzager's picture


Born May 19, 1593 - Died October 18, 1678

Dad sold canvases for a living, so that was quite handy for Jordaens.

Jordaens lived in Antwerp his whole life and in good catholic style, had ten brothers and sisters (whom you can check out in his awesome "Self Portrait with Parents, brothers, and Sisters").

He was a Protestant sympathizer who got fined for "heretical writings". He finally converted to Protestantism when it became safe to do so.

He admired Rubens and worked under him a few times. He also sometimes made paintings based on Rubens' sketches.

Married his art teacher's oldest daughter (as did Dutch master, Jan Steen).

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Here is what Wikipedia says about Jacob Jordaens

Jacob (Jacques) Jordaens (19 May 1593 – 18 October 1678) was a Flemish painter, draughtsman and tapestry designer known for his history paintings, genre scenes and portraits. After Peter Paul Rubens and Anthony van Dyck, he was the leading Flemish Baroque painter of his day. Unlike those contemporaries he never travelled abroad to study Italian painting, and his career is marked by an indifference to their intellectual and courtly aspirations. In fact, except for a few short trips to locations in the Low Countries, he remained in Antwerp his entire life. As well as being a successful painter, he was a prominent designer of tapestries.

Like Rubens, Jordaens painted altarpieces, mythological, and allegorical scenes, and after 1640—the year Rubens died—he was the most important painter in Antwerp for large-scale commissions and the status of his patrons increased in general. However, he is best known today for his numerous large genre scenes based on proverbs in the manner of his contemporary Jan Brueghel the Elder, depicting The King Drinks and As the Old Sing, So Pipe the Young. Jordaens' main artistic influences, besides Rubens and the Brueghel family, were northern Italian painters such as Jacopo Bassano, Paolo Veronese, and Caravaggio.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Jacob Jordaens.