PHILIP FRUYTIERS (1627-1666), Flemish painter and engraver, was a pupil of the Jesuits' college at Antwerp in 1627, and entered the Antwerp gild of painters without a fee in 1631. He is described in the register of that institution as "illuminator, painter and engraver." The current account of his life is "that he worked exclusively in water colours, yet was so remarkable in this branch of his art for arrangement, drawing, and especially for force and clearness of colour, as to excite the admiration of Rubens, whom he portrayed with all his family." The truth is that he was an artist of the most versatile talents, as may be judged from the fact that in 1646 he executed an Assumption with figures of life size, and four smaller pictures in oil, for the church of St Jacques at Antwerp, for which he received the considerable sum of 1150 florins. Unhappily no undoubted production of his hand has been preserved. All that we can point to with certainty is a series of etched plates, chiefly portraits, which are acknowledged to have been powerfully and skilfully handled. If, however, we search the portfolios of art collections on the European continent, we sometimes stumble upon miniatures on vellum, drawn with great talent and coloured with extraordinary brilliancy. In form they quite recall the works of Rubens, and these, it may be, are the work of Philip Fruytiers.
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