Achen, John Van

, an eminent painter, was born at Cologne, in 1556, of a good family. He discovered a taste for his art from his earliest years, and at the age of eleven, painted a portrait with such success, as to induce his parents to encourage his studies. After having been for some time taught by a very indifferent painter, he became the disciple of de Georges, or Jerrigh, a good portrait-painter, with whom he remained six years; and afterwards improved himself by studying and copying the works of Spranger. In his twenty-second year he went to Italy, and was introduced at Venice to a Flemish artist, named Gaspard Reims. This man no sooner learned that Van Achen was a German, than he recommended him to an Italian who courted necessitous artists that he might make, a trade of their labours. With him Van Achen made some copies, but, being unable to forget the reception which Reims had given him, he painted his own portrait, and sent it to him. Reims was so struck with the performance, that he apologized to Van Achen, took him into his house, and preserved the portrait all his life with great veneration. At Venice, he acquired the Venetian art of colouring, and thence went to Rome to improve his design, but never quitted the mannered forms of Spranger. His best performances at Rome were a Nativity for the church of the Jesuits, and a portrait of Madona Venusta, a celebrated performer on the lute. His talents, however, and polite accomplishments, recommended him to several of the greatest princes of Europe, and particularly to the elector of Bavaria, and the emperor Rodolph, by both of whom he was patronized and honoured. He was one of that set of artists who, in the lapse of the sixteenth century, captivated Germany and its princes by the introduction of a new style, or rather manner, grossly compounded from the principles of the Florentine and Venetian schools. He died at Prague in 1621. 2


Biographic UnivcrseJIe, 1811. Pilkington’s Dict. by Fuseli.