• NamePeter Snayers
  • Activity/Titlepainter, draughtsman
  • Sexmale
  • Variant namesstavningsvariant: Peter Snaijers
    stavningsvariant: Peeter Snayers
  • Nationality/DatesNetherlands, born 1592, dead after 1666
  • PlacesPlace of birth: Antwerpen, Belgien
    Place of death: Bryssel, Belgien
BiographyPainter of battles and hunting scenes.
Although not listed as such in the records of the
Antwerp Guild of St. Luke, Snayers was an apprentice
of the painter Sebastiaen Vrancx, who created the
genre of battle scenes in the Netherlands. In
1612/1613 Snayers became a master in the Antwerp
guild. In 1618 he married a niece of the painter Cornelis
Schut, in 1620/1621 he became a member of the
Antwerp chamber of rhetoric, De Violieren, and he
continued to live in his native city until the second
half of the 1620s, regularly paying his dues to the
guild until 1625/1626. On 16 June 1628 he obtained
citizenship of Brussels and became a master in the
local painters’ guild. Although never officially
appointed court painter to the Spanish Habsburg
governors of the Netherlands, the Archdukes Albert
and Isabella Clara Eugenia, Snayers worked for the
Infanta on several occasions, which may explain his
move to Brussels. Snayers was highly appreciated by
the aristocratic circles around the Brussels court. He
subsequently became court painter to the Cardinal-
Infante Ferdinand of Austria as well as Archduke
Leopold Wilhelm. Snayers died at Brussels, a wealthy
man, shortly after 1666. The sale of his collection of
paintings, in June of 1675, after the death of his
widow, included no fewer than 427 paintings.
During his early Antwerp period, Snayers adopted
the style and subject matter of his master, Vrancx,
painting lively and colourful scenes of soldiers’ skirmishes
and robberies on country roads. For the rest of
his career he specialized in large aerial depictions of
historical sieges and battlefields from the contempo-
rary conflicts, recording the most important events of
the Thirty Years’ War. A highly talented and prolific
military painter, Snayers presumably never visited a
battlefield, and painted his battle scenes using official
military topographical maps. His battlefield paintings
are represented in museum collections in Brussels,
Dresden, Madrid, Schleissheim, Turin and Vienna.
Snayers also painted equestrian portraits of important
personages of his time, the Marqués de Leganés,
Ambrogio Spinola and the Comte de Bucquoy
(Rohrau, Harrasche Galerie). Peter Paul Rubens
chose him as a collaborator for two paintings in the
series of the Life of Henry IV of 1628–1630, (Munich,
Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen), and he also
contributed a series of hunting scenes to the decoration,
in 1636–1638, of the Torre de la Parada, the
hunting lodge outside Madrid of the Spanish king
Philip IV. In his later years, Snayers painted large and
impressive landscapes, some of which date as late as
1662. Snayers had several apprentices in Brussels from
1637 onwards, among them Adam Frans van der
Meulen, who became his pupil in 1646. His works are
sometimes mistaken for those of the battle scene
painter Pieter Meulener, who may have been his pupil.