Room 27

Dutch Italianate Painting

In the 17th century a trip to Italy was considered an important part of an artist’s training. Dutch painters went there to study the landscape, ancient ruins and sculptures, and the warm Mediterranean light. On their return to the Netherlands, many of these artists continued to paint Italianate landscapes; others adapted the lessons they had learned to suit Dutch taste for religious and secular paintings.

In the first decades of the 17th century, Cornelis van Poelenburgh mainly painted small, highly finished Italianate views with ruins and nymphs. Moses van Uyttenbroeck, who may not have visited Italy in person, made his Arcadian landscapes the setting for Old Testament and mythological figures.

At mid-century, Jan Both pioneered a new wave of Italianate landscape painting in Holland. He visited Rome in the 1630s, and continued to recreate the light of the Roman campagna in paintings even after his return to his native Utrecht. Nicolaes Berchem also produced atmospheric landscape paintings infused with golden Italian light.