GILLIS VAN CONINXLOO, follower of
Antwerp, 1544 – Amsterdam, 1607
Landscape with journey to Emmaus
oil on canvas, cm 64×49
This extraordinary pair of paintings which we are presenting depict, almost concealed within vast landscapes covered by forest and with a scattering of towered villages and castles immersed in the morning mist, two motifs that are not apparently connected to one another. The first, a kind of Vanitas, features a pair of lovers who are hovering between love and death: a winged cupid is about to shoot a love arrow, but in the same instant a threatening skeleton appears, armed with bow and arrows. The second, on the contrary, seems to represent a motif from the gospel, the Journey to Emmaus, a theme not infrequently found in Flemish paintings from the late Fifteenth and early Sixteenth century. In fact, it is to this period, and to a follower of Gillis van Conixloo – together with Paul Bril, also born in Antwerp, the most important and influential landscape painter in the Flanders in the second half of the 16th century – that we may retrace these two paintings, which however feature clearly identifiable peculiarities and stylistic traits.
“Oltre. In viaggio con cercatori, fuggitivi, pellegrini”, exhibition catalogue edited by don Alessio Geretti, Casa delle Esposizioni di Illegio, Allemandi, Turin, 2016, p.168.