Frans Francken II - vendere e comprare opere
1581, Antwerp (Belgium) - 6 May 1642, Antwerp (Belgium)
Frans Francken II (also Frans Francken the Younger) was a Flemish baroque painter. He was primarily known for his densely populated paintings depicting historical, mythological and allegorical scenes. His innovation in terms of pictorial motifs, such as the Kunstkammer or gallery paintings, also set him apart. He is the most famous representative of the Francken family of painters, who were primarily active in Antwerp between the 16th and 18th centuries.
Born in Antwerp in 1581 to the painter Frans Francken I, his exceptional artistic talent was recognised from an early age, and encouraged both by his father and his uncle Hieronymus I. In 1605 he was awarded the title of “Master”. Like his forebears, Frans Francken II was accepted into the Guild of St. Luke, which enabled him to sell his works, and to teach.
The artist enjoyed great renown, along with buoyant demand for commissions. He set up his own studio to meet this demand, and many of his works were reproduced there. His repertoire included cabinet paintings, genre scenes, allegories, gallery paintings, still lifes and altarpieces. He made a name for himself in large and small-scale works, and his images display highly accurate details and iconographical density.
He specialised in depicting figures - his exceptional talent was sought after by his fellow painters and was used to embellish pieces by artists such as Tobias Verhaecht, Abraham Govaerts, Alexander Keirincx, Josse de Momper the Younger and Peeter Neeffs. Some of the pictorial subjects he introduced were ground-breaking for Flemish painting, such as gallery paintings or the depiction of monkeys in genre scenes (so-called ‘singeries’). He passed his talent as a painter on to his son Frans III.
His later works include large-scale altarpieces.
Frans Francken II died in Antwerp in 1642.
Today, his works are preserved in notable international collections and museums, such as the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the Louvre in Paris and the Prado in Madrid.
On 24 April 2010, one of his most important works - the painting “Mankind's Eternal Dilemma: The Choice Between Virtue and Vice” - sold for the record price of € 7,022,300 at an auction of Old Master Paintings at Dorotheum.