Balen, Hendrick Van

, an artist, was born at Antwerp, in 15GO, and was a disciple of Adam Van Oort; but he quitted that master, to acquire a better taste of design and composition, by pursuing his studies at Rome, where he resided for a considerable time. He copied the antiques, he attended to the works of the most memorable modern artists and at his return to his own country, the visible improvement of his taste recommended him to the favour and esteem of the ablest judges of the art. He distinguished himself by a good manner of designing, and his works are admitted into the cabinets of the curious, among those of the principal painters. He particularly excelled in the naked, and gave to his figures truth, roundness, and correctness of outline. Several fine portraits of his hand are at the Hague among which there is one adorned with allegorical figures of Widom and Justice. All the historical subjects painted by Van Balen have merit. His designs of the Deluge, of Moses striking the Rock, and the drowning of Pharaoh, are grand and noble compositions. Houbraken observes, that Van Balen, with great judgment, hath introduced the Israelites in a clear light in the back ground, but the Egyptians in a strong shadow in the fore ground, which had a very fine effect the figures being well designed, the attitudes and draperies well chosen, and the number of the figures being very considerable. Of this master’s hand also the Judgment of Paris is accounted a masterly performance in which the figure of Venus is so elegantly designed, so full of life, and so round, that it seems to stand forth from the surface. The landscapes and back grounds of the pictures composed by Van Balen, were generally painted by the Velvet Brueghel. Van Balen was the first master of Vandyck. He died in 1672. His son, John Van Balen, was born at Antwerp, in 1611, and derived his knowledge of the art, and his fine taste of drawing and design, from his father but, as soon as he had made a competent progress, he travelled to Rome, and lived for several years in that and other cities of Italy. There he acquired a good taste for design, though he was sometimes incorrect his particular merit was shewn in naked figures of boys, cupidfi, nymphs bathing or hunting, of which subjects he painted a considerable number, and he procured both praise and riches by his landscapes and histories. His pictures were well handled, his trees touched wiih spirit, and his herbage and verdure looked natural and lively. The carnations of his figures were clear and fresh, | his colouring in general was transparent, and the airs of his heads were in the manner of Albano. 1


Dict. Hist. Pilkington.