Also called Grimer or Grimmaer, Jacob Grimmer is assumed to have been born around 1525 and belongs to the generation and followers of Pieter Bruegel the Elder. According to Karel van Mander's Het Schilder-boek (1604), he studied successively with Matthys Cock, Gabriel Bouwens, and Christiaen van den Queeckborne, although there are no known works by the latter two artists. He evidently made a trip to Italy and is mentioned by Vasari (1550) and Guicciardini (1567). Grimmer became a master in the St Luke's Guild in 1547 and was active in the city's Chamber of Rhetoricians. He married Lucia van de Wouwer in Antwerp in 1548. The couple had at least four children. Their son Abel (c. 1570-after 1617) followed his father as a landscapist in the bruegelian tradition. In 1550 Grimmer acquired a modest house on the Paddengracht and seems to have remained in the city for the remainder of his life. Dated works are known from 1546 to 1589, however notwithstanding the appearance of a recent monograph on the artist (Bertier de Sauvigny 1991) his stylistic development is still little understood. In 1557 he was recorded as having a student. Like Bruegel, Grimmer often painted landscapes symbolising the Four Seasons or the Twelve Months and depicted religious landscape themes such as the Tower of Babel. He was well regarded in his day and often collaborated with artists like Marten van Cleve and Gillis Mostaert, who supplied the figures in his landscapes. Abel Grimmer's art can be confused with that of his father but his style was less refined in execution, even somewhat naïve in its simplicity of conception. Jacob Grimmer's designs were engraved by Adriaen Collaert and Philippe Galle.

Peter C. Sutton