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Bentvueghels

In the 17th century, a pilgrimage to Rome was obligatory for many Dutch artists. Once in Italy, they would meet their fellow countrymen, as was the case for the Schildersbent group. The clique consisted of Flemish and Dutch artists working in Rome, who referred to themselves as "Bentvueghels" (Birds of a Feather). The group came into existence in circa 1620, but was soon discredited, due to its debauched initiation rituals, which the members also thematised in their work. During the rituals, the artists were given a "Bent name". Thus van Baburen was aptly referred to as "Biervlieg" (Beer fly) Otto Marseus van Schrieck as "Snuffelaer" (Sniffer) and Cornelis van Poelenburgh as "Satyr".
The "Bentvueghels" chose earthy, humorous subjects in the tradition of Pieter van Laer (c. 1599-1642), whose Bent name "Il Bamboccio" (Ugly Puppet), was also used to describe an art form (Bambocciade). The circle also included artists who portrayed other subjects, such as the landscape painter Cornelis van Poelenburgh (c. 1586/95-1667). Other key members of the clique included Jan van Bijlert (c. 1598-1671), Paulus Bor (c. 1601-69), Jean Ducamps (c. 1600-83) and Bartholomeus Breenbergh (before 1598 -1657).
In 1720, Pope Clemens XI banned the group’s bacchanalian initiation rituals, which had gradually lost their significance.


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