The pronounced technique is the first thing that strikes you when viewing the works of Jan Grotenbreg. It is innovative and unique. The result of his idiosyncratic working method can be compared to Roman and Medieval murals, the so-called fresco in which people paint directly in wet lime. At the time, fresco technique was a decorative art form in Europe. However, it is not the decorative element that inspires and interests Jan, but the weathered appearance of the surviving fresco paintings. In 2000 he started experimenting with cement on linen. This technique is so special, because cement is a building material and does not stick to canvas. After many attempts, Grotenbreg has found a solution to this problem with modern binders.
An impressive series of animal studies followed. Jan Grotenbreg only paints animals he has an affinity with. Animals such as the horse, the cow and the bull, as well as lesser-known animals such as the protected bird of prey, the black-capped vulture, the Egyptian Nile bird Ibis and the endangered house sparrow, have been laid down on linen by Grotenbreg in a layer of gray cement with acrylic paint in black-brown color nuances. The texture and composition of the applied cement is a very important part of his work. That's what makes it intriguing. The way in which the cement is applied determines the decisiveness of the work even more than the image. The animals, especially the sparrows, sometimes only cover a very small part of the canvas. It is clear that the emphasis is on technology. The charm of Jan Grotenbreg's work lies in the imitation of that weathering. But the animals portrayed also play a role in this and are not exempt from rendered weariness. They give a beautiful antique impression due to their soft, slightly damaged appearance.
Jan Grotenbreg was born in the city of Alkmaar, the Netherlands and followed his education at the Academy for Visual Arts in Tilburg.