Juan Van Der Hamen Y León and the Court of Madrid William B. Jordan

Publication date:
01 Feb 2006
Yale University Press
312 pages: 254 x 203mm
170 b-w + 75 color illus.


A deeply researched and surprising new assessment of one the most brilliant artists of Spain’s Golden Age

This masterful examination of the life and work of Juan van der Hamen y León (1596-1631) serves as a powerful and novel lens for viewing the artistic life of the Spanish court of the 1620s. Van der Hamen is well known as a gifted still-life painter of the Golden Age, but William B. Jordan shows convincingly that the artist was much more than that. Jordan examines Van der Hamen’s entire output of still lifes and considers for the first time the complete oeuvre of the artist most esteemed by his peers for his versatility—for his portraits, allegories, landscapes, flower paintings, and large-scale works for churches and convents. 

Only thirty-five at the time of his death, Van der Hamen was mourned as “the greatest Spaniard of his art.” This lofty assessment has long been dismissed as hyperbole, yet an array newly discovered paintings makes the lament understandable. In this lavishly illustrated book--including many works never published before and others transformed by recent restoration--Jordan presents the results of forty years of probing research and sets Van der Hamen in his proper place among the great masters of Spanish art.

William B. Jordan is former director of the Meadows Museum, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, where he was also professor of art history and chairman of the Division of Fine Arts of the Meadows School of the Arts. From 1981 to 1990 he was deputy director of the Kimbell Art Museum.

"Elegantly written, scrupulously researched, and handsomely illustrated."?Renaissance Quarterly

"More than a simple monograph of the artist, the book seems to be a cross section of the city of Madrid in which  the data collected during a task of investigation of more than four decades creates an exhaustive view of Spain in the first half of the seventeenth century. The abundance of information and its rigorous use lead one to await with great anticipation the detailed catalogue of Van der Hamen announced by Jordan for the year 2009."?Felix Scheffler, The Catholic Historical Review

"An important breakthrough in analyzing a crucial decade in Spanish art history. . . . Jordan's book represents the first major monograph on Van der Hamen, and the text is accompanied by lavish illustrations that eloquently testify to the artist's contribution to Spanish painting. . . . Excellent."?Tanya J. Tiffany, CAA Reviews