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Beer In Art #28: Jos Van De Ven’s Still Life With Beer Bottle

Today’s work of art, while thoroughly modern, is painted in a style reminiscent of the old masters by Dutch artist Jos Van De Ven. Van De Ven’s work featured today is entitled Still Life With Beer Bottle and Book.


The work is done in oil, and measures 61 x 46 cm, roughly 18 x 24 in. The artist himself describes the painting:

When I was in Lithuania, I found the little painting you can see on the wall in the background. It is a typical landscape of that area. The cup in the foreground is a Russian antique and the old handmade beer bottle is French. In order to see the shadows on the wall, I used a light background. Here again, I had to use a white cloth on the shelf in order to create a balance with the light wall.

So Van De Ven paints in the style of old Dutch masters, and here’s why:

Technique for the sake of technique and for showing off a kind of virtuosity may create some “wow”, but to my mind it has no real value. A painting has to be an illusion with a soul, not an exact replica of reality. Photography can do that much better.

That’s why I like the art of painting. The artist can create something, using reality as a tool, that a photographer may never be able to do. They can create their own light, mix colours that may not really exist, or forms that would be difficult to find in the real world. A painting is the product of an artist’s fantasy or imagination, giving them the opportunity to create their own universe. The artist can make a painting “come alive”.

As much as I enjoy painting classical still lifes, I strive to give them a contemporary touch. For instance, in the 17th century, the interior of houses were dark because of all the wood paneling on the walls and the small windows. That’s often reflected in the still lifes of the time, particularly in the dark brown colour schemes and sparse lighting. But I want my still lifes to he fresh, full of life and light, with vivid colours I want them to be alive, to show that simple things in life have a right to exist, too. As such, I use many of the best classical techniques but with a modern day spin.

And here’s a biography of the artist, from his website:

Jos Van De Ven is a modern artist with a classically inspired style who considers painting to be an adventure and a search for conceptual communication. Currently he likes to express a peaceful state of mind using objects in a timeless setting. At the heart of his work is the play and poetry of light and color. His work may be “still”, but it is alive.
“The richness of life lies within sincerity, elegance and a bit of mystery: I like my paintings to reflect states of being and my quest towards a better comprehension of man and his nobility, and that they open a window for those who know how to look beyond appearances”, says Jos Van De Ven.

His artistic journey has taken many twists and turns. In his younger days, he was devotee of the French Impressionists until he met Salvador Dali at his home in Spain. Jos was only 23 at the time. He continued with surrealism until he felt the need to break loose, painting in a totally abstract way, wild, uncontrolled, very colourful. Still not happy with his work, Jos studied art in Spain after which he felt revitalised. Unfortunately, due to various circumstances in his life at the time, he stopped painting for a while.

Years later, Jos picked up his paint brushes again, but did not know what to paint. He had changed and was looking for something that would allow him to express what he wanted say with his art. He became interested in the techniques of the Old Masters and turned to Dutch painter, Cornelis LeMair, for guidance. Under his tutelage, Jos experimented with a variety of traditional materials and approaches. His work took on another form. He liked the traditional techniques but wanted to give his paintings a more contemporary look. Now he has a definite signature and is very much appreciated.

Jos shows regularly at galleries throughout the Netherlands, France, the USA and elsewhere. His work is included in numerous collections and he regularly receives commissions from an international clientele.

His sister, Monique Van De Ven, is a well-known actress in The Netherlands and his daughter, Nadia Van De Ven, is an actress who recently started working in Hollywood. She’s been on Days of Our Lives and an episode of “ER.” She even has a MySpace page.

If you want to learn more about the artist, you’re on your own, unfortunately. Apart from his own website, there’s not much else out there about his work.


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