Neefs, Peter

Neefs, Peter called the Old, an eminent Flemish painter who mostly confined himself to the cultivation of ecclesiastical art, was born at Antwerp in 1570. He was a disciple of the elder Henry Steenwyck, whose manner he closely imitated. He painted views of churches and convents, especially interiors, preferring those in the Gothic style of architecture. He possessed a profound knowledge of perspective, and represented his subjects, with all their rich ornaments and every architectural member, with strict truth, and yet without betraying the appearance of anxious labor. Every object is marked with minute precision, and finished with an exquisite touch and a light pencil. His bright, clear pictures, in which he avoided the darkish brown coloring sometimes observable in the works of his master Steenwyck, are the most esteemed. Being an indifferent designer of figures, he often got F. Francks, Van Thulden, Velvet Breughel, or Teniers to paint the figures; those of the two last greatly enhance the value of the pictures of Neefs. He died in 1651. His son, Peter Martin (called the Young), painted in the same style, and chose the same subjects as his father, but was by no means equal to him.

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