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Jan Fyt
(Belgian, 1611 -1661 )

Fyt was born in Antwerp on June 15, 1611 and was apprenticed to Hans van den Berch, probably completing his training with Frans Snyders. In 1629-1630, Fyt became a master in the Antwerp Guild of St. Luke, but he continued to work for Snyders until 1631. He traveled to Paris in 1633 and 1634, later going to Italy. He worked in Rome and Venice and traveled extensively in Italy. By 1611, he was back in Antwerp, where he apparently remained for the rest of his career.

Fyt, along with Snyders, Paul de Vos and Abraham Hondius, were important precedents for the nineteenth century English artist, Edwin Landseer. Their work tended to be rather violent, often depicting the dog in combat with wolves, lions and other wild animals. It was characterized by a realism and sense of drama not seen in the painting of previous centuries, and it affected Landseer, especially in his early work. Fyt was prolific, for in addition to doing over 287 still-lives, he completed a large number of hunting scenes, flower paintings and numerous works with animals. Among his foreign patrons was Carlo Guasco, to whom he dedicated a series of etchings in 1642.


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