Major works | Moderation versus Excess
A pupil of Jan Maes, Lodewijk de Deyster worked in Bruges, his home town, and Ghent, in the late 17th century. He also spent six years in Italy. He worked prolifically, especially on religious paintings.
Taken from the Old Testament, these scenes illustrate the moment when Moses and Jacob meet their future wives, Çippora and Rachel. In the land of Midian, Moses, sitting near a well, meets seven young women who have come to give their herd some water. Bothered by shepherds, Moses comes to their defence and is then welcomed by the young women’s father, Jethro. Moses moves in with him and marries one of his daughters, Çippora.
The second painting is of Jacob’s meeting with Rachel: his peregrinations have brought him to Harân where he meets his cousin Rachel and her herd; he moves the heavy stone covering the well opening all by himself and gives her cattle water to drink – all for her. Jacob is then welcomed by Laban, Rachel’s father, who asks him to work for him for seven years in exchange for Rachel’s hand in marriage. But Laban makes him marry Lea, his ungainly eldest daughter, first, before giving him his beloved Rachel seven years later.
In these paintings, Venetian influence mingles with that of contemporary French masters. But to the classical canon of the Italian and French masters, de Deyster introduces Nordic naturalism. Lodewijk de Deyster proves himself to be a sure colourist, not shying away from painting the sky with an intense, deep blue wash and bathing the figures’ clothing in light. His free and energetic approach, easy and slapdash brushstrokes and fluid, finely shaded colour herald the Rococo style.