Theodoor van Thulden

Theodoor van Thulden is an Antwerp painter, draftsman and print artist who immigrated there from the Northern Netherlands. He primarily completes history pieces and mythological works of art, as well as ones influenced by literature. The influences that he gained in the Southern Netherlands, he consequently introduces to the Northern Netherlands. He is a talented and successful artist and one of the best decorative painters of his time.

Van Thulden was heavily under the influence of Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), whose style he copies and from whom he derives motifs. That van Thulden worked in Rubens's studio has yet to be proven. In the beginning of his career, the artist is influenced by Mannerism. Amongst others, he makes etchings after the works of Francesco Primaticcio (1504-1570) and Nicolò dell'Abate (ca. 1509-1571) in Fountainbleau.

Van Thulden's art becomes more elegant and he evolves during the time of Classicism. Despite his success-he is chosen as dean of the Antwerp Saint Luke Guild in 1639 and 1640-van Thulden has financial problems. In 1644, he is back in his hometown of ‘s-Hertogenbosch. Only in the latter part of his career does the influence of Mannerism and Rubens begin to wear off, and the artist finds a more personal élan. Van Thulden explores the portrait genre and makes group portraits of important families. At this moment, politically laden allegories also arise, amongst others, for the City Hall of ‘s-Hertogenbosch. Churches in the Southern Netherlands also approach him for altarpieces.

9 August 1606

Theodoor van Thulden is born in ‘s-Hertogenbosch.


In this period, van Thulden is a student of the portrait painter, Abraham Blyenberch (Active 1617-1623) in Antwerp.


Van Thulden obtains the status of Free Mastership in the Saint Luke Guild of Antwerp.


The painter resides in Paris and paints a series of 19 canvases regarding the life of Saint John of Matha for the church of the Trinitarians. The series is survived via

the etchings in the book Revelatio ordinis SSmae Trinitatis that was published in Paris in 1633.

Van Thulden copies the decorations of Francesco Primaticcio and Nicolò dell'Abate in the Galarie d'Ulysse in Fountainbleau. The gallery was destroyed in the 18th Century, making van Thulden's copies an important source.

The etching series Les Travaux d'Ulysse is published in Paris in 1633.

24 July 1635

Theodoor van Thulden marries Maria van Balen. Maria is the daughter of the painter Hendrick van (I) Balen (1573-1632) and godchild of Peter Paul Rubens.


For the Pompa Introitus Ferdinandi, the commemorative book of the Glorious Entrance of Cardinal-infant Ferdinand in Antwerp in 1635, van Thulden completes gravures after designs by Rubens. The gravures were only published later in 1642. The paintings that he made for this occasion have gone lost.


Van Thulden is registered as a citizen of the City of Antwerp.


Along with other artists, van Thulden works on the mythological decorations (after oil sketches by Rubens) of the hunting pavilion Torre de la Parada of Philip IV near Madrid. He paints two works based on the sketches by Rubens.


Van Thulden is active in Antwerp in this period.

1639 and 1640

The artist is chosen as dean of the Saint Luke Guild in Antwerp in these years.

Circa 1640

In the 1640's van Thulden makes political allegories for his hometown of ‘s-Hertogenbosch as well as works of a religious nature.

The financial situation of the artist is not good and obliges him to return to ‘s-Hertogenbosch.


Van Thulden remains in ‘s-Hertogenbosch until his death.


Van Thulden paints Maid of Holland and Righteousness (City Hall, ‘s-Hertogenbosch) and Perseus and Andromeda (Musée des Beaux-Arts, Nancy).


The Trinitarians in Paris again commission a job for van Thulden. He is asked to paint three canvases for the high altar. (Musée de Grenoble, Grenoble; Musée des Beaux-Arts, Angers; Notre-Dame-de-la-Couture, Le Mans).


For the Orange Hall in Huis ten Bosch (in the vicinity of The Hague), van Thulden paints 6 large allegorical adorations for the House of Orange. He is present there along with Jacob (I) Jordaens (1593-1678) and other artists from Antwerp.


Based on pattern boards by van Thulden, glass artist Jean de Labarre (1603-1668) is asked to complete three large glass windows for the Our Lady Chapel in the Cathedral of Saint Michael and Saint Gudula in Brussels.

June 1655

Van Thulden becomes the tutor of painter Hendrick van (II) Balen (1623-1661)

12 July 1669

Theodoor van Thulden dies in ‘s-Hertogenbosch.

Matthias Depoorter