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Adriaen van de Velde
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A gifted painter, etcher and draftsman during Holland’s Golden Age, Adriaen van de Velde produced a large and varied body of works during his career of less than two decades. Born in Amsterdam in November 1636, he was the son of the marine painter Willem van de Velde the Elder (1611-1693). Adriaen did not follow his father and older brother Willem van de Velde the Younger (1633-1707) into painting maritime scenes, although presumably he was taught by his father. Arnold Houbraken (1660-1719) records in his early 18th century work on Dutch artists that van de Velde trained in Haarlem with the landscape painter Jan Wijnants (ca. 1635-1684). His earliest surviving works are six etchings printed in 1653 and preparatory drawings for two of them. He would go on to create about 25 etchings, many of farm animals as well as a few landscapes and genre scenes. His first dated painting is from 1654, and scholars have dated paintings by him for every year from then until his last works in 1671. Many of his early works depict cattle and herdsmen, showing the influence of Paulus Potter (1625-1654). He had returned to Amsterdam by 1657, where he married Maria Pieters Ouderkerck on April 5. His works soon showed the influence of the Dutch Italianate landscape painters, such as Karel Dujardin (1626-1678) and Nicolaes Berchem (1620-1683). Some have speculated that van de Velde traveled to Italy at some point, but no evidence has been found for such a trip. He excelled at painting human figures and animals, which led him to be employed by other landscape artists, such as Jacob van Ruisdael (1628/29-1682), Meindert Hobbema (1638-1709), Wijnants and his brother Willem, to paint figures in their paintings. Van de Velde’s surviving art includes sculpture; a terracotta statue of a reclining cow in the Louvre Museum, Paris, is attributed to him. Van de Velde painted a wide variety of landscape scenes, including beach scenes, winter scenes, allegories and scenes with aristocratic portraits. His versatility is demonstrated by six religious scenes painted for clandestine Catholic churches in Amsterdam. A skilled draftsman, over two hundred of his drawings survive. Scholars have identified some fifty of these as preparatory drawings for known paintings or prints, including preliminary sketches, figure studies drawn from models in his studio and detailed, finished drawings of the final composition. He made counterproofs of some of his figure studies to serve as models to be used as needed. Many of the drawings were made out-of-doors; Houbraken reported that van de Velde went into the fields weekly to sketch animals and landscape scenes. His short career ended when he was thirty-five; he was interred on January 21, 1672. His student Dirk van den Bergen (ca. 1640-ca. 1690) inherited his studio property. (TNB 12/2012) Selected bibliography: Robinson, William W. “Preparatory Drawings by Adriaen van de Velde,” Master Drawings 17 (1979), p. 3-23. Stechow, Wolfgang. Dutch Landscape Painting of the Seventeenth Century, pp. 31-32, 60-61, 80, 98-99, 107-109 and 160-162. London: Phaidon, 1966. Sutton, Peter C., Masters of 17th-century Dutch Landscape Painting, pp. 492-496. Exhibition catalog. Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1987.