Théobald Michau

Tournai 1676 – Antwerp 1765

Landscape with a Village near a River

Signed ‘Michau‘ | Lower middle
Oil on copper
H. 15,4 cm. W. 21,6 cm.


Private collection


This particularly fine work on copper is a characteristic landscape by the Walloon born master Théobald Michau.
He studied with the landscape painter Lucas Achtschellinck in Brussels. He was made Master of the Guild in Brussels in 1698 and elected a member of the Guild of St. Luke of Antwerp in 1710 and work in this city for the rest of his life. Michau exclusively painted small cabinet-sized pictures, on both copper and panel, as dictated by the fashion of the 18th century. He was very successful and his works were much sought-after. The height of Michau’s success was marked by the purchase of ten of his works by the Governor of the Low Countries, Charles of Lorraine. Several engravings were made after Michau’s works by Jacques-Philippe Lebas and his pupils. He contributed the figures to the works of several artists including the landscape painter Jacques d’Arthois.

Anecdotal landscapes such as the present picture – along with those of the artist’s contemporaries, including Karel Beschey and Josef van Bredael – are heavily reliant on and continue the tradition of landscape painting begun by Jan Brueghel the Elder at the end of the sixteenth century. Michau continued this Flemish landscape tradition, combined with the genre tradition of David Teniers the Younger. The composition of the present picture as well as the atmospheric perspective in blue and green reveals the influence of Brueghel the Elder.