Jacob (or Jacques) de Backer

“It is most deplorable that sometimes, suddenly and unexpectedly, death snatches away artists in their youth or while they are still prominent.

This had happened often in modern as it in ancient times.

An example of this was furnished years ago by the industrious Jacob (Jacques) de Backer.

He was born at Antwerp.

His father was a very good painter, who, because of slander, went to live in France and died in that country.

Jacob  was sometimes called Jacques of Palermo, after a certain Antonio Palermo, an artist who was also a dealer in painting.

Jacob lived with this dealer. He was kept at a low wage and had to work hard and constantly.

By his great diligence he improved with remarkable rapidity in his painting.

Palermo made good profits in through the work of Jacob de Backer and sent much of it to France, where he sold it for good money. Still Jaques was constantly reprimanded to do better.

He was told that his paintings could not be sold.

In this way, the servant artist worked like a horse, so to speak, in order to produce something valuable.

Jacob de Backer never allowed any time to be lost, and on his days off, he was drawing or modeling in clay and practicing all the time.

Finally he went to live with Hendrick van Steenwyck .

Jacob de Backer’s paintings everywhere, are in great demand; they decorate the cabinets or rooms of many lovers of art.

Three beautiful pictures are in the collection of Melchior Wintgis at Middelborgh –Adam and Eve, a Charitas, as a Crucifixion.

I have seen at home of Sr Oppenbergh three paintings od standing figures, full length, half-size, representing Venus, Juno and Pallas, in charming poses, with various object in the background, and on the ground some of their things, clothings, animals and so on.

Jacob de Backer was one of the best colorists Antwerp ever possessed; he had a good method of painting carnation; he produced high lights not merely with with white, but with flesh color itself.

He deserves to be praised eternally among the painters”

Karel Van Mander