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Michael Sweerts

1618 - 1664

Place Born

Brussels

Place Died

Goa

Bio

Michael Sweerts was born in Brussels in 1618, the son of a merchant. Nothing is known of his life, even during his early formative period, until Easter 1646, when he is recorded in the Parish register of Santa Maria del Popolo, Rome. In October of that year he is mentioned again as a member aggregato of the Accademia di San Luca, and specifically asked to collect the contributions for the painters’ guild from Northern artists in Rome. From 1646 to 1651 Sweerts lived in the via Margutta, Rome, in the company of various Northern painters, and in 1651 he signed two paintings that he had executed in Rome, one depicting an artist’s studio (Detroit, Institute of Arts), the other, tric-trac players (Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum). Between 1652 and 1656, the year he returned to Brussels, there are no further documentary references to him, although it has been argued from an analysis of his works that he remained in Rome until 1654. On his return to Brussels, Sweerts established an academy, principally for tapestry makers, to teach young artists how to draw. In 1659, he was admitted to the Brussels painters’ guild, but it would seem that his academy lasted a very short time, as by 1661 he was in Amsterdam. At that time, he is known to have led an austere and religious life, and shortly thereafter he became a lay brother with a missionary order led by François Pallu. In 1662 he left with Pallu and other missionaries for the East. Pallu’s letters record that during their journey Sweerts became unbearable and took pleasure in contradicting the leader of the mission. Pallu concluded that Sweerts was no longer in control of himself. At Tauris, Sweerts left his companions and journeyed to a mission of Portuguese Jesuits at Goa, where he died in 1664.

Art Works Sold

A Seated Old Woman Looking to the Front

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Historical Period: 1600-1720 Baroque
A Seated Old Woman Looking to the Front
A Seated Old Woman Looking to the Right

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Historical Period: 1600-1720 Baroque
A Seated Old Woman Looking to the Right
An allegory of War or Mars Destroying the Arts

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Historical Period: 1600-1720 Baroque
An allegory of War or Mars Destroying the Arts
The Marriage Contract or The Tric Trac Players

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Historical Period: 1600-1720 Baroque
The Marriage Contract or The Tric Trac Players