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Adriaen van de Velde: Dutch Master of Landscape

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You are watching the third and final part of our Adriaen van de Velde video series. To catch up with parts one and two click here.

4 Stars

"A quiet revelation... and delightful rediscovery" - The Telegraph

4 Stars (1)

 "Varied, accomplished and sensitive" - Evening Standard

4 Stars (1)

 - Time Out

Nominee: The Global Fine Art Awards 2016 

The first ever exhibition devoted to the Dutch painter and draughtsman Adriaen van de Velde (1636 - 1672), one of the finest landscape artists of the Dutch Golden Age. Through collaboration with the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, over 60 paintings and exquisite preparatory drawings by this prolific, but tragically short-lived artist will be brought to London.

A Dutch Italianate, Van de Velde represents a point of artistic cross-communication across borders, fusing agricultural landscapes in Holland with mythological Arcadian scenes in Italian settings. Compared by the renowned art historian Wolfgang Stechow (1896-1974) to Mozart's chamber music, Van de Velde's paintings are delicate, carefully composed and demonstrate his mastery of lighting effects as well as the human figure.

Van de Velde died at the early age of 35, and yet he produced a great number of masterpieces that earned him posthumous fame. As well as bringing together 60 works, the exhibition will reunite these paintings with their preparatory studies in red chalk or pen and ink for the first time. The exhibition will offer not only a survey of the artist’s oeuvre but also a rare glimpse of a seventeenth-century Dutch landscape painter at work, from conception to completion.

Portrait Of A Family Landscape Rijksmuseum

Six sides of Van de Velde

We bring you an alternative snapshot of the Dutch Master.

1. The Wunderkind

From a young age he would draw or paint on any surface he could find, even adorning his cupboard bed with a picture of a dairy farmer that was ‘treasured long afterwards’ according to his daughter. 

2. The annoying little brother

Adriaen’s family were also established artists and as a child he would regularly steal his older brother Willem’s brushes and paints to explore his own creativity. While Willem the elder and Willem the younger were marine painters however, Adriaen forged his own path as a landscape painter.

3. The religious rebel

Born into a Protestant family, van de Velde married a Catholic woman and became a convert despite the high levels of persecution and prejudice that followed the Netherlands’ long and bloody war to gain independence from Catholic Spain. All five of his children were baptised in various clandestine churches around Amsterdam.

4. The bankrupt

Despite his success during his lifetime and the massive value placed on his work in the century after he died, van de Velde was plagued with money troubles his whole life. His wife ran a linen shop to help make ends meet but it wasn’t enough. When he died the sale of all his possessions and works didn’t even cover the debts. 

5. The domestic

Adriaen himself never travelled beyond the borders of his native Netherlands but following his death in 1672, his father and brother travelled to London where they lived until their deaths, earning large salaries as painters for King Charles II (pre-Brexit of course). 

6. The Mozart of painting

He died at the same age as Mozart at the tender age of 35, having produced a huge body of work. The art critic Wolfgang Stechow compared the musician with the painter, describing Van de Velde as displaying “Mozartian serenity, harmony and composure”.

This exhibition is part of Dulwich Picture Gallery’s Rediscovering Old Masters: The Melosi Series, and supported by a grant from the American Friends of Dulwich Picture Gallery Inc., made possible through the generosity of The Arthur and Holly Magill Foundation.

Audioguide 3 (2)

Watch our Van de Velde video playlist:


Image credits: Carousel: Adriaen van de Velde, The beach at Scheveningen, 1658, Oil on canvas © Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister. Adriaen van de Velde, The Hut, 1671, Oil on canvas, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. Adriaen van de Velde, Recumbent cow and three sheep, 1671, Red and black chalk, 19.4 x 30.8 cm, Amsterdam Museum. 
Adriaen van de Velde, Portrait of a family in a landscape, (detail) 1667, Oil on canvas, 148 x 178 cm, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. On loan from the City of Amsterdam (A. van der Hoop Bequest).