Jacob Symonsz. Pynas is well known as a landscapist and history painter. In 1605 he went to Italy with his ten year older brother and possible teacher Jan Pynas (1583-1631), were he became influenced by the work of Pieter Lastman (1583-1633) and Adam Elsheimer (1578-1610). Especially in his earlier landscapes the figures are painted somewhat overbright and show a very minute excecution that recall Elsheimer’s work. By 1608 he went back to Amsterdam where he, along with his brother, his brother-in-law Jan Tengnagel (1584-1635) and Pieter Lastman, slowly departed from the Italian influence in his work and started the so-called Dutch school of historical painting, from which Rembrandt among others derived.
This dated composition reveals the Italian influence in his landscapes; the church annex cloister atop the mountainous landscape still has a dominating role in the composition. In his later works the New Testamental subject of a composition would be placed more to the centre.
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