Theodoor van Thulden (Den Bosch, 1606-1669) Apollo and the muses

Theodoor van Thulden was the son of the silversmith Jacob Gerits van Tulden and Heylwich van Meurs, he was the eldest of nine childeren. Theodoor married Maria van Balen in 1635, the daughter of the painter Hendrick van Balen (1575-1632) and Margriet Biers. Peter Paul Rubens was her grand uncle. The couple had a daughter Maria Anna who died at young age.[1]

At the age of fifteen Theodoor left for Antwerp to become an apprentice of Abraham van Blyenberch and joined St Luke in 1627. He is often believed to be a pupil of Rubens, though this remains unsure and is based on a misunderstanding most presumably. What is fur sure, he was strongly influenced by Rubens and they worked together for several times.

Van Thulden was commissioned at least twice by Rubens for large projects in Antwerp. First between 1635 and 1642 for the Pompa Intoitus or “The Triumphal entry of of Cardinal-Infant Ferdinand of Austria as governor of the Southern Netherlands”. This would take until 1641 to complete. Second for the hunting lodge “Torre de la Parada” of Philips IV in Madrid. He left Antwerp in 1642 and moved to Oirschot in 1643 and to Den Bosch in 1646/1647. Van Thulden’s commissioners were amongst others the city of Antwerp, Den Bosch and the Dutch Royal House of Orange (Amalia van Solms).

Our drawing might well be a preparatory drawing for “Travaux d’Ulysse dessinés par le sieur de St. Martin dans la maison royale de Fontainebleau, gravés par Théodore van Thulden” (Paris, 1633). This publication comprising 58 etchings depicting the adventures of Odysseus after the original fresco’s by Primaticcio and Niccolo dell’ Abbate in Fontainebleau. Original preparatory designs for this publication preserved in the collections of the Albertina, Vienna and The Louvre, Paris.[2]

Another collection of 63 sketches by van Thulden preserved in the Royal Library Brussels as well as multiple drawings dating between 1632-1633 of Greek Mythology present in other locations, which perfectly matches with the subject of our design. These drawings were made in Fontaineblaeu and Paris. Therefore our drawing may be dated ca. 1632-1633.

The present drawing shows the typical compositional elements we know from other works by van Thulden and shows great similarities with the painting “Allegorische voorstelling van het recht op hooger beroep van de schepenbanken der Meierij op de scheepbank van ‘s-Hertogenbosch”.[4]

Van Thulden is known for his symbolism, emblemism and mythology to depict political, religious and civil sentiments.

 

 

 

[1] H. Schneider, 'Theodoor van Thulden en Noord-Nederland', Oud-Holland 45 (1928), p. 1-15 en 200-209

[2] L.F.W. Adriaenssen, Voorheen van Tuldel, Thans Van Tulden, Van Tulder, Van Thulden. Stichting Brabantse Regionale Geschiedbeoefening (Amsterdam 2011)

[3] Dr. Maria Galen has kindly confirmed the authorship of Theodoor van Thulden. Correspondence by e-mail, 28 August 2016

[4] Theodoor van Thulden, “Allegorische voorstelling van het recht op hooger beroep van de schepenbanken der Meierij op de scheepbank van ‘s-Hertogenbosch”. Oil on canvas, 242 x 295 cm, dated 1647, burgemeesterskamer Den Bosch.


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