Room 26

Dutch Italianate Painting

In the 17th century a trip to Italy was considered an important part of an artist’s training. Many Dutch painters travelled to Italy to study the landscape, ancient ruins and sculptures, and the warm Mediterranean light; others absorbed these lessons second-hand from artists who brought the Italianate style back to the Netherlands.

Pieter Lastman, the leading painter of biblical and mythological subjects in Amsterdam during the 1620s (and one of Rembrandt’s teachers), was inspired by the sophisticated compositions of the Italian masters he had seen in Rome. Sharp contours and strong contrasts of light and shadow enhance the drama of his scenes.

Much later in the century, Frederick de Moucheron, who never travelled to Italy, painted idyllic Italianate landscapes complete with classical ruins and golden light. Jan van der Heyden was principally a painter of highly detailed townscapes, but also produced architectural fantasies. Many of these show the influence of classical antiquity and anticipate works by 18th-century vedute painters like Giovanni Paolo Panini.