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Adriaen van de Velde

Born 1636. Died 1672.
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Adriaen van de Velde Biography

Adriaen van de Velde was a 17th-century Dutch painter, draftsman and printmaker best known for his landscapes and animal paintings. Amsterdam in the mid-17th-century was in a bustling era of economic growth, in which newly-rich merchants and guilds were on the rise as both powerful economic figures and leading patrons of artistic production. Given this, Van de Velde was able to secure consistent commissions before dying at the young age of 35. His prolific and impressive career embodies the Dutch Golden Age in terms of experimentation with hazy light, naturalistic landscapes and nuanced depictions of figures.

Born in 1636, van de Velde was raised in a family of marine painters which included his father, Willem van de Velde the Elder, and brother Willem van de Velde the Younger; however, he sought to establish a career in his own right without turning to his family’s marine painting traditions. He trained in the studio of the landscape painter Jan Wynants, where he encountered Philip Wouwerman, the Dutch animal and landscape painter who left an indelible impact on the young artist. Van de Velde soon joined as an employee in Wynants’ studio, as well as those of Hobbema, Ruisdael, Verboom, and other Dutch masters. He quickly established his technique of drawing or sketching animals in nature or live models in his studio before beginning to paint, which suited contemporary tastes for observational, naturalistic paintings. Over time, he turned to warmer, softer handling of natural light in works such as The Migration of Jacob, from 1663. Although van de Velde was considered a prodigy and young master, his work garnered relatively less attention in the early 20th century; however, recent exhibitions, such as Adriaen van de Velde: Dutch Master of Landscape curated by the Rijksmuseum in collaboration with the Dulwich Picture Gallery in 2016, have reinvigorated van de Velde’s legacy as a major artist of the Dutch Golden Age.

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