Dutch art describes the history of visual arts in the Netherlands,
after the United Provinces separated from Flanders. Earlier painting
in the area is covered in
Early Netherlandish painting
Early Netherlandish painting and Dutch and
Flemish Renaissance painting.
The history of
Dutch art is dominated by the Dutch Golden Age
painting, mostly of about 1620-1680, when a very distinct style and
new types of painting were developed, though still keeping close links
Baroque painting. After the end of the Golden Age,
production of paintings remained high, but ceased to influence the
rest of Europe as strongly. The
Hague School of the 19th century
re-interpreted the range of subjects of the Golden Age in contemporary
terms, and made Dutch painting once again a European leader. In the
successive movements of art since the 19th century, the Dutch
contribution has been best known from the work of the individual
Vincent Van Gogh
Vincent Van Gogh and Piet Mondrian, though both did their
best work outside the Netherlands, and took some time to be
Amsterdam Impressionism had a mainly local impact, but
De Stijl movement, of which Mondrian was a member, was influential
1 Golden Age
2 Nineteenth century
2.1 Vincent van Gogh
3 Twentieth century
5 External links
Main article: Dutch Golden Age painting
Dutch Golden Age painting
Dutch Golden Age painting was among the most acclaimed in the world at
the time, during the seventeenth century. There was an enormous output
of painting, so much so that prices declined seriously during the
period. From the 1620s, Dutch painting broke decisively from the
Baroque style typified by Rubens in neighboring
Flanders into a more
realistic style of depiction, very much concerned with the real world.
Types of paintings included historical paintings, portraiture,
landscapes and cityscapes, still lifes and genre paintings. In the
last four of these categories, Dutch painters established styles upon
which art in Europe depended for the next two centuries. Paintings
often had a moralistic subtext. The Golden Age never really recovered
from the French invasion of 1671, although there was a twilight period
lasting until about 1710.
Dutch painters, especially in the northern provinces, tried to evoke
emotions in the spectator by letting him/her be a bystander to a scene
of profound intimacy. Portrait painting thrived in the
the seventeenth century. many portraits were commissioned by wealthy
individuals. Group portraits similarly were often ordered by prominent
members of a city's civilian guard, by boards of trustees and regents,
and the like. Often group portraits were paid for by each portrayed
person individually. The amount paid determined each person's place in
the picture, either head to toe in full regalia in the foreground or
face only in the back of the group. Sometimes all group members paid
an equal sum, which was likely to lead to quarrels when some members
gained a more prominent place in the picture than others. Allegories,
in which painted objects conveyed symbolic meaning about the subject,
were often applied. Many genre paintings, which seemingly only
depicted everyday life, actually illustrated Dutch proverbs and
sayings, or conveyed a moralistic message, the meaning of which is not
always easy to decipher nowadays. Favourite topics in Dutch landscapes
were the dunes along the western sea coast, rivers with their broad
adjoining meadows where cattle grazed, often a silhouette of a city in
The Night Watch
The Night Watch by Rembrandt
Rembrandt had by 1631 established such a good reputation that he
received several assignments for portraits from Amsterdam. In about
1640, his work became more sober, reflecting the family tragedies that
he had suffered. Exuberance was replaced by more sincere emotions.
Biblical scenes were now derived more often from the New Testament
instead of the Old Testament. One of his most famous paintings is The
Night Watch, which was completed in 1642, at the peak of Holland's
golden age. The painting was commissioned to be hung in the banquet
hall of the newly-built Kloveniersdoelen (Musketeers' Meeting Hall) in
Officer and a Laughing Girl
Officer and a Laughing Girl by Vermeer
Johannes Vermeer's works are admired for their transparent colors,
careful composition, and brilliant use of light.
mostly domestic interior scenes, and even his two known landscapes are
framed with a window. The interior scenes are usually genre pieces or
portraits. One of his most well known works is Girl with a Pearl
Utrecht School refers to a group of painters active in the city of
Utrecht in the
Netherlands in the early part of the seventeenth
century. It is part of what is called Baroque. They were all strongly
influenced by the then recently deceased Caravaggio, who died in 1610.
Bamboccianti were a group of Dutch genre painters active in Rome
from 1625-1700, during high and late Baroque. Their works were
typically small parlor paintings or etchings of everyday life,
including peasants in picturesque scenes.
Amsterdam (c. 1895) by George Hendrik Breitner
Hague School were around at the start of the nineteenth century.
They included Jozef Israëls.
Jacob Maris showed all that is gravest
or brightest in the landscape of Holland, all that is heaviest or
clearest in its atmosphere. "No painter," says M. Philippe Zilcken, "
has so well expressed the ethereal effects, bathed in air and light
through floating silvery mist, in which painters delight, and the
characteristic remote horizons blurred by haze; or again, the grey yet
luminous weather of Holland.".
Amsterdam Impressionism was current during the middle of the
nineteenth century at about the same time as French Impressionism. The
painters put their impressions onto canvas with rapid, visible strokes
of the brush. They focused on depicting the everyday life of the city.
Amsterdam was a bustling centre of art and
literature. Famous painters among the
Amsterdam Impressionists include
George Hendrik Breitner, Willem de Zwart, Isaac Israëls, Simon Duiker
and Jan Toorop.
George Hendrik Breitner
George Hendrik Breitner introduced a realism to the
Netherlands that created shock waves similar to that of Courbet and
Manet's in France. He was the painter of city views par excellence:
wooden foundation piles by the harbour, demolition work and
construction sites in the old centre, horse trams on the Dam, or
canals in the rain. By the turn of the century Breitner was a famous
painter in the Netherlands, as demonstrated by a highly successful
retrospective exhibition at Arti et Amicitiae in
When the streets of
Amsterdam are grey and rainy, people of Amsterdam
whisper grimly "Echt Breitnerweer" (Typical Breitnerweather).
Vincent van Gogh
Vincent Willem van Gogh
Vincent Willem van Gogh (30 March 1853 – 29 July 1890) was a
post-Impressionist painter whose work, notable for its rough beauty,
emotional honesty and bold color, had a far-reaching influence on
20th-century art. After years of painful anxiety and frequent bouts of
mental illness, he died aged 37 from a gunshot wound, generally
accepted to be self-inflicted (although no gun was ever found). His
work was then known to only a handful of people and appreciated by
Painter on the Road to Tarascon, August 1888, Vincent van Gogh on the
road to Montmajour, oil on canvas, 48 × 44 cm., formerly Museum
Magdeburg, believed to have been destroyed by fire in World War II
Following his first exhibitions in the late 1880s, van Gogh's fame
grew steadily among colleagues, art critics, dealers and
collectors. After his death, memorial exhibitions were mounted in
Brussels, Paris, The Hague and Antwerp. In the early 20th century,
there were retrospectives in Paris (1901 and 1905), and Amsterdam
(1905), and important group exhibitions in Cologne (1912), New York
(1913) and Berlin (1914). These had a noticeable impact on later
generations of artists. By the mid 20th century van Gogh was seen
as one of the greatest and most recognizable painters in
history. In 2007 a group of Dutch historians compiled the "Canon
of Dutch History" to be taught in schools and included van Gogh as one
of the fifty topics of the canon, alongside other national icons such
Rembrandt and De Stijl.
Together with those of Pablo Picasso, Van Gogh's works are among the
world's most expensive paintings ever sold, as estimated from auctions
and private sales. Those sold for over $100 million (today's
equivalent) include Portrait of Dr. Gachet, Portrait of Joseph
Roulin and Irises.
A Wheatfield with Cypresses
A Wheatfield with Cypresses was sold in 1993
for $57 million, a spectacularly high price at the time, while
Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear
Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear was sold privately in the late
1990s for an estimated $80/$90 million.
Around 1905-1910 pointillism as practiced by Jan Sluyters, Piet
Leo Gestel was flourishing. Between 1911 and 1914 all the
latest art movements arrived in the
Netherlands one after another
including cubism, futurism and expressionism. After World War I, De
Stijl (the style) was led by
Theo van Doesburg
Theo van Doesburg and
Piet Mondrian and
promoted a pure art, consisting only of vertical and horizontal lines,
and the use of primary colors.
Design Academy was established in 1947.
Henk Helmantel (1969)
Matthijs Roling (1997)
Gerrit Rietveld (1917)
Leo Gestel (1913)
John Rädecker (1950)
Theo van Doesburg
Theo van Doesburg (1917)
Jan Snoeck (2001)
^ Tralbaut (1981), 286,287
^ Hulsker (1990), 390
^ John Rewald, Studies in Post-Impressionism, The Posthumous Fate of
Vincent van Gogh 1890–1970,pp. 244–254, published by Harry N.
Abrams 1986, ISBN 0-8109-1632-0
^ See Dorn, Leeman & alt. (1990)
^ Rewald, John. "The posthumous fate of Vincent van Gogh 1890–1970".
Museumjournaal, August–September 1970. Republished in Rewald (1986),
^ "Vincent van Gogh The Dutch Master of Modern Art has his Greatest
American Show," Life Magazine, 10 October 1949, pp. 82–87. Retrieved
2 July 2010.
^ National Gallery of Art, Washington DC Archived April 17, 2006, at
the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved 2 July 2010.
^ "The Canon of the Netherlands". De Canon van Nederland. Foundation
entoen.nu. 2007. Archived from the original on 12 June 2009. Retrieved
10 July 2009.
^ Andrew Decker, "The Silent Boom", Artnet.com. Retrieved 14 September
^ "Top 10 Most Expensive Paintings" Archived 2013-03-17 at the Wayback
Machine., TipTopTens.com. Retrieved 14 September 2011.
^ G. Fernández, "The Most Expensive Paintings ever sold",
TheArtWolf.com. Retrieved 14 September 2011.
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