This painting illustrates a key event in the history of Dinant and the province of Namur and, more widely, in the history of Europe. In May 1675, during the Franco-Dutch war, the city and Château of Dinant were besieged by French troops and Louis XIV entered the city on 23 May 1675.
Despite its neutrality as being part of Liege, Dinant had been associated with numerous endemic struggles between France and Spain. In 1554, the city was besieged by the troops of the French King, Henri II after the destruction of nearby Bouvignes and later, between 1675 and 1703, Dinant was occupied and fortified by King Louis XIV’s military engineers. After this French interlude, Dinant was restored to Liege.
This work was painted by Adam-François van der Meulen (1632-1690), a Brussels-born Flemish Baroque painter, who specialised in depicting battle and hunting scenes. His fame spread beyond the frontiers of his homeland and in 1662, he was called to Paris by Charles Le Brun, the 'Premier peintre’ (First Painter) to King Louis XIV and Director of the famous tapestry workshop, the Manufacture des Gobelins. In 1665, van der Meulen joined the team charged with immortalising the image of King Louis XIV and he subsequently accompanied the king on all of trips and in all of his wars. And this included being part of the invasion of his own country…
Adam-François van der Meulen then travelled along the Meuse, drawing the newly acquired French territories, which he later captured in paintings. It was during this trip that he met the talented landscape artist Cornelis Huysmans, who is probably responsible for the scenery in this painting. The particularly naturalistic treatment of the right side of the work is rather different from the style usually adopted by van der Meulen.
The Pierre François Tilmon Fund, which endeavours to preserve and promote the heritage of Namur, was able to acquire this oil on canvas during an auction at the Artcurial auction house in Paris, on 23 March 2017. In so doing, the Fund has enriched our Belgian heritage with a unique testimony to the city’s and province’s history.
The painting will be exhibited at the Hôtel de Groesbeeck-de Croix - Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Namur when restoration of the building is completed.