Plantation Settlement in Brazil

Frans Janszoon Post

Plantación en Brasil

Post, Frans Janszoon

Haarlem, c. 1612 - 1680

Plantation Settlement in Brazil, 1656

© Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza

Signed and dated lower right: ''F. POST 1656''
Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection on deposit at the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza

Oil on panel

36,9 x 54 cm


Artwork history

  • Georg Graf von Schönborn-Buchheim, Batthyány-Schönbornpalast, Vienna.

  • Fischer, London, 1955.

  • Fischer auction, Lucerne, June 12, 1956. lot 1939.

  • Fischer, Lucerne, 1957.

  • Galerie Ganzoni, Geneva, around 1957.

  • De Beer Fine Art, London, around  1958.

  • Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Lugano, 1958.

  • Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection on deposit at the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid.


From Van Eyck to Tiepolo: An Exhibition of Pictures from the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, London, The National Gallery, nº 88, p. 45.

1979 - 1981

Old Master Paintings from the Collection of Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza, Washington (DC), National Gallery of Art; Detroit (MI), The Detroit Institute of Arts; Minneapolis (MN), The Minneapolis Institute of Arts; Cleveland (OH), The Cleveland Museum of Art; Los Angeles (CA), Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Denver (CO), Denver Art Museum; Fort Worth (TX), Kimbell Art Museum; Kansas City (MO), William Rockhill Nelson Gallery and Atkins Museum of Fine Arts; New York (NY), The Metropolitan Museum of Art, nº 41.


Collection Thyssen-Bornemisza: Maîtres Anciens, Paris, Petit Palais, nº 43.


Im Lichte Holländs Malerei des 17. Jahrhunderts aus den Sammlungen des Fürsten von Liechtenstein und aus Schweizer Besitz, Basle, Kunstmuseum Basel, nº 73, p. 198.


Frans Post. Paradiesische Landschaft, Basle, Kunsthalle Basel; Tubinga, Kunsthalle Tübingen, illus. p. 44.


Aspectos de la tradición paisajística en la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Málaga, Salas de Exposiciones del Palacio Episcopal, nº 6, p. 42.


De Van Dyck a Goya. Maestros Antiguos de la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Castellón, Museo de Bellas Artes, nº 31, p. 114.

  • -Guimarães, A.: ”Na Holanda com Frans Post’‘. In Revista do Instituto Histórico e Geográfico Brasileiro. nº 335, 1957, nº 71, pp. 113-114 and 176.

  • -Larsen, Erik: Frans Post.Interprète de Brésil. Amsterdam – Río de Janeiro, Colibris Editora, 1962, nº 33, pp. 112, 143, 190, fig. 34.

  • -Heinemann, Rudolf J. (ed.): The Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection. Ebbinge-Wubben, Johann; Salm, Christian and Sterling, Charles. Lugano-Castagnola, Villa Favorita, 1969 [German edition 1971], vol. 1, nº 254, pp. 274-275; vol. 2, illus. 193 [ Sheet by Ebbinge-Wubben.]

  • -Sousa-Leão, J. de: Frans Post 1612-1680. Amsterdam, 1973, nº 23, fig. p. 73.

  • -Terwen, J.J.: “The Buildings of Johan Maurits”. In Boogaart, E. van den: A humanist prince in Europe and Brazil: Johan Maurits van Nassau-Siegen 1604-1679. The Hague, The Johan Maurits van Nassau Sfichting, 1979, p. 101.

  • -Rosenbaum, Allen: Old Master Paintings from the Collection of Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza. [Exhib. cat. Washington (DC), National Gallery of Art – New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1979-1981]. Walker, John (intr.). Washington (DC), International Exhibitions Foundation, 1979, pp. 133-134.

  • -Borghero, Gertrude: Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection: catalogue of the exhibited works of art. Lugano-Castagnola, Villa Favorita, 1981, nº 254, p. 261, illus.

  • -Borghero, Gertrude: Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, catalogue raisonné of the exhibited works of art. Lugano, The Collection – Milan, Electa International, 1986, nº 254, p. 260, illus.


  • -Watteville, Caroline de: The Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection. Guide to the Exhibited Works. Lugano – Milan, Electa, 1989, p. 266, illus.

  • -Gaskell, Ivan: Seventeenth-century Dutch and Flemish Painting: The Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection. London, Sotheby’s, 1990, nº 108, pp. 456-459, illus. p. 457.

  • -Stukenbrock, Ch.: Landesmuseum Mainz. Niederländische Gemälde des 16 und 17. Jahrhunderts. Mainz, Landesmusum Mainz, 1997, p. 404.

  • -Aspectos de la Tradición Paisajística en la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza. Llorens Serra, Tomàs (ed.). [Exhib. cat. Málaga, Salas de Exposiciones del Palacio Episcopal]. Málaga, Fundación Unicaja, 1999, nº 6, p. 42. [Sheet by Peter C. Sutton].

  • -De Van Dyck a Goya. Maestros Antiguos de la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Castellón, Museo de Bellas Artes [Exhib. Cat. Museo de Bellas Artes , Castellón], 2001  n. 31, p. 114.

  • -Mark, P.: ”Portuguese” Style and Luso-African Identity: Precolonial Senegambia, Sixteenth-Nineteenth Centuries. Bloomington (IN), Indiana University Press, 2002, nº 14, p. 75, fig. p. 76.

  • -Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza. Arnaldo, Javier (ed.). 2 vols. Madrid, Fundación Colección Thyssen-Bornemisza, 2004, vol. 1, p. 104, illus. p. 105 [Sheet by Peter C. Sutton].

  • -Corrêa do Lago, Pedro and Corrêa do Lago, Bia: Frans Post (1612 – 1680). Catalogue raisonné. Río de Janeiro, Capivara – Milan, 5 Continents, 2007 [Original edition in Portuguese: Frans Post (1612-1680) : obra completa. Río de Janeiro, Capivara, 2006], p. 164, illus.

Expert report

This panoramic view of a plantation settlement in Brazil was recollected by Frans Post one dozen years after he had returned from South America to Holland. It depicts the master’s residence on the left and smaller dwellings including a chapel in the centre. The foreground typically is filled with rocks and the silhouetted forms of lush trees and shrubbery, while the settlement creates a strip of tan earth in the middle distance before a verdant and misty plane. A tall, cloud-swept sky enhances the expansive panoramic effect.

Post often varied favourite designs and themes, notably wide tropical river valleys and panoramic forests with settled clearings. Gaskell (1990) observed that a painting by Post closely related in composition to the present picture but reportedly dated 1649 suggests that the genesis of the ideas for this painting had appeared seven years earlier. Plantations of varying sizes make up the largest portion of Post’s production as a landscapist. In the present work he depicts a modestly scaled plantation, probably Portuguese in nationality (note the priest and friar before the chapel) in all likelihood devoted to the cultivation of sugar cane. Post depicted much larger sugar plantations, known as engenhos reais and described first hand in such works as Antonil’s Cultura e Opulência do Brasil (Lisbon, 1711). In his landscapes he depicted in detail the lucrative sugar production industry, including its mills and boiler houses. However the present work celebrates the land, its sweep and beauty, as much as the plantation and its simple labourers’ dwellings. Indeed with the colourful marketplace and dancing natives in the right foreground it seems less an account of industry and cultivation in the New World than a vision of the leisured existence in exotic foreign lands. Gaskell rightly questioned whether its appeal was to arcadian stereotypes.

Peter C. Sutton