Van de Venne's Fishing for Souls

Van de Venne's Fishing for Souls
Van de Venne's Fishing for Souls
Anonim

The Flemish painter Adriaen Van de Venne painted this oil on panel in 1614, and the work is now kept in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

The work is not only a product of his artistic moment, theBaroque, it is also the product of a very specific historical moment. And it is that the painting was painted a few years after 1609, the year in which a truce was signed between the Dutch and the Spanish after many years of what is known as the War of Flanders. Some dates in which, in fact, part of the Netherlands, specifically the northern zone, had already become independent, although it had not yet been officially recognized.

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Van de Venne's Fishing for Souls

In this context we must understand this allegorical image of war, where paradoxically you don't see a combat. What it represents to us is a peculiar scene of fishing in a river, and it is that the War of Flanders had really become a war of religion, in which both Catholics and Protestants, located at the extremes of the conflict, that is, on the banks of the river, they fought to catch the souls of the undecided in order to have more troops for their cause.

In this way, Venne plays with that allegory to represent all the topics of both religions. For example, on the shore of the Catholics (the one on the right) you can see in the background a peculiarprocession, in which the faithful wear red. It is a procession in which the Pope would even participate in a pompous way, covered under a golden canopy. A very grandiloquent attitude, almost exhibitionist, which collides with the most typical attitude of Protestants, who are much more restrained and austere, something that is manifested in their clothes.

It is clear that Van de Venne is a Dutch painter and therefore takes sides with the group of Protestants, followers of Calvin. This is manifested, for example, when contemplating the trees that are on the banks. While on the side of the Protestants a large leafy tree is clearly visible, with branches full of leaves, on the opposite bank we see a dry tree, almost withered and dry. This refers to a psalm in which he compares believers to trees whose foliage does not wither. Something that obviously here is related to Protestantismo.

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