• NameMathys Ignatius van Bree
  • Sexmale
  • Nationality/DatesFlemish, born 1773, dead 1839
BiographyMattheus Ignatius van Brée began his artistic
training at the Academy of Art in Antwerp, where he
was for some time a pupil of Petrus Johannes van
Regemorter before eventually becoming a professor
at the Academy with his own studio in 1794. In 1796
he was working at François-André Vincent’s studio in
Paris. On his return to Antwerp his work included
allegorical depictions of Napoleon’s life and deeds as
well as his entry into Antwerp. When Napoleon and
Joséphine visited Antwerp, he was the artist responsible
for the festive decorations and he subsequently
completed a number of commissions for the Empress
Joséphine. In the early years of the 19th century he
exhibited regularly in Antwerp, Brussels and Ghent.
Van Brée also executed works for the House of
Orange and was appointed court painter by Willem II
in 1817. He spent some time in Florence in 1821 and
from 1827 until his death he was director of the
Antwerp Academy of Art. With his works influenced
by Jacques Louis David and French neo-classicism,
Van Brée is accounted one of the most influential history
painters in the Netherlands during the late 18th
and early 19th centuries and he took his motifs from
both classical mythology and contemporary politics
and history. He also executed graphical works, paintings
with religious motifs and portraits. As professor
and teacher at the Academy of Art, he was to influence
a younger generation of painters in what was
known as the romantic school of Belgian art.