Jan van de Velde the Younger

The Oospoort (The East Gate) at Delft

pen and brown ink
19.1 x 30.4 cm.
Musée de l'École National Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris
The Oospoort (The East Gate) at Delft, Jan van de Velde teh Younger

Jan van de Velde the Younger

Born into an artistic family, Jan van de Velde II (1593–1641) was encouraged to develop his talent in an inspirational and supportive creative environment. Van de Velde's parents moved to Rotterdam a few years prior to his birth, but later relocated to Haarlem where Jan "the younger" would learn skill in many forms of art. He, along with brother Willem and cousin Esaias van de Velde, developed his craft in Haarlem. His father, a master calligrapher, had strong intentions for Jan to be taught by a draughtsman. Jacob Matham, stepson of Hendrik Goltzius, instructed Jan in engraving in 1613 and a year later he became a member of Haarlem's artists' guild of Saint Luke. Although art historians still consider him a truly underrated printmaker, he produced over five hundred prints during his career and works such as Peasants and Goats near Ruins (c.1615) demonstrate Van de Velde's skill in creating picturesque etched views near Haarlem.

Focusing on rural life and everyday domestic genre scenes, he frequently based his drawings and etchings on other Baroque artists, either copying their works or borrowing motifs for his own compositions. He reproduced the works of such artists as Willem Buytewech, Frans Hals and even his cousin Esaias. Buytewech's and Van de Velde's prints have a number of stylistic and thematic similarities, but Van de Velde's landscapes reflect a keen appreciation of nature and the rustic countryside that was not emphasized in other Dutch artists' works. Van de Velde's landscapes tend to present an historic devotion to the ancient Dutch world combined with a prosaic emotional response to nature.

by Kathryn Koca