Asselyn, John

, a Flemish painter, was born at Antwerp in 1610, and was a disciple of Esaias Vandervelde, and under the guidance of so able a master, he became an excellent painter of landscape. His companions nicknamed him Crabbetje, from a crooked turn in his fingers and his hand, which caused him to hold his pallet with some degree of awkwardness. And yet, by the lightness, freedom, and spirit of his touch, it could not be supposed that his hand had the smallest imperfection. He was one of the first Flemish painters who adopted the clean and bright manner of landscape painting. He studied after nature in the country about Rome, improving his taste by the delightful situations of towns, villas, antiquities, figures, and animals, which he sketched upon paper, to make a proper use of them in his designs. In the style of his landscape he chose particularly to imitate Claude Lorraine but in other parts of his painting he seemed fond of making Bamboccio his model. He enriched his landscapes with the vestiges of noble buildings, and the views of such seats as he observed to be beautiful, by their situation or construction. His colouring is extremely bright and clear his skies are warm his touch is free and firm his figures and animals are w r ell drawn, and judiciously disposed and his pictures justly merit the approbation which they have always received.

Of the personal history of this artist very little is known. He married at Lyons in 1645, the daughter of a merchant of Antwerp, who happened accidentally to be in that place, and died at Amsterdam in 1660, in the fiftieth year of his age. Perelle has engraved some of his landscapes, and of his Italian ruins. 2


Pilkington’s Dict.—Abregé de la Vie ds plus fameux Paintres, vol. IIL p. 132.—Sandrart, p. 304.