Jacob van den Kerckhoven
detto Giacomo da Castello
Jacob van den Kerckhoven (b Antwerp, c. 1637; d Venice, c. 1712). Flemish painter, active in Italy. He is recorded in the Antwerp workshop of Jan Fyt in 1649. He is documented in Venice in 1685-6 and was enrolled in the Fraglia dei Pittori from 1690 to 1712, when he was excused from paying dues because of his 'great age'. He painted splendid still-lifes, especially of fowl, many of which are listed in Venetian inventories from the 17th century to the 19th. He also collaborated with such figure painters as Johann Carl Loth and Antonio Zanchi on joint works to which he contributed still-life elements. The earliest of these is the Head of a Wild Boar with Dead Birds (sold London, Christie's, 11 Dec 1984), in which his debt to Jan Fyt is still vividly evident. This influence can also be seen in the still-lifes at Burghley House, Cambs, which were commissioned in 1684 by John Cecil, 5th Earl of Exeter. In later works (e.g. Stuttgart, Staatsgal.) he moved away from Fyt and developed a personal manner characterized by analytical drawing and brilliant colour. He used very oily paint and was highly skilled in rendering the play of reflections. It is likely that he visited Rome and perhaps Naples: this is suggested by stylistic links with Michelangelo Cerquozzi and Michelangelo Pace del Campidoglio and also by some doubts as to whether certain works (e.g. Still-life with Fruit, Hannover, Niedersachs. Landesmus.) were painted by him or by Giuseppe Recco. Contacts with Giovanni Battista Ruoppolo and also with Joseph Heintz the younger can be seen in his still-life paintings with fish as well as in the Self-portrait (Florence, Uffizi), a rare example of his figure painting.