Jan van Noordt

Jan van Noordt: Painter of History and Portraits in Amsterdam

David A. de Witt
Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 408
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  • Book Info
    Jan van Noordt
    Book Description:

    De Witt offers a detailed biography based on a thorough review of the documentary evidence. He traces Van Noordt's origins back to a prominent musical family, details his artistic development under the guidance of prominent Amsterdam painter Jacob Adriaensz Backer, and reveals his synthesis of the styles of the two dominant Netherlandish artists, Rubens and Rembrandt. Using a systematic analysis of technique, manner, and approach to form, de Witt proves that over half the paintings and drawings presently attributed to Van Noordt are not his work - virtually recasting the accomplishments of an artist whose vibrant, often daring works challenge our concept of seventeenth-century Dutch art.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-7564-6
    Subjects: Art & Art History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-1)
  4. [Illustration]
    (pp. 2-2)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 3-6)

    There are three paintings by the seventeenth-century painter Jan van Noordt in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, in the most representative collection of the paintings of the Dutch Golden Age. These paintings areContinence of Scipioand two versions of thePortrait of Dionys Wynands(cat. 27, 51, and 52); in all three Van Noordt conjured moments of beauty, conveyed a sense of gravity, and pursued a vigorous and grand overall effect. He was not content only to match the smooth and pleasing work of some of his more successful contemporaries: theScipioshows a hard edge that borders on the...

  6. CHAPTER ONE “Konstrijk schilder te Amsterdam”: The Life of Jan van Noordt
    (pp. 7-15)

    In his single, brief reference to Jan van Noordt, the biographer-artist Arnold Houbraken calls him “famous,”¹ yet he describes him no further, and thus Van Noordt falls victim to Houbraken’s tendency to inconsistency. No paintings or biographical details are described; in fact, Houbraken only mentioned him because he was the teacher of Johannes Voorhout (1647–1723) (fig. 1).² Voorhout was one of Houbraken’s more important sources of information on artists, but ironically he did not supply the biographer with much information on his own teacher.³ Today Jan van Noordt’s paintings are better known than is his life. Nonetheless, the scattered...

  7. CHAPTER TWO The Development of Jan van Noordt’s Style
    (pp. 16-37)

    Around 1640 Jan van Noordt began to study of the art of painting. The thriving port and trading centre of Amsterdam presented the young pupil with probably the largest market for art anywhere at the time. The city boasted several distinct schools of painting, among which that of Rembrandt and his followers had become pre-eminent in the preceding decade. However, only in a general sense did Van Noordt initially follow Rembrandt’s model, by focusing on portraiture and history painting and choosing a number of his historical themes from the Old Testament of the Bible. Van Noordt’s training took place at...

  8. CHAPTER THREE From Open Market to Private Network: Buyers and Patrons of Jan van Noordt’s Paintings
    (pp. 38-50)

    Jan van Noordt’s course as an artist followed not only his own creativity and bent, but also the market for paintings in the northern Netherlands. With paintings likeGranida and Daifiloof 1663 andContinence of Scipioof 1672, Van Noordt joined play with those priorities and values of his society that were expressed in art consumption. This society was Amsterdam between around 1645 and 1675. Those Amsterdammers who bought Van Noordt’s paintings form the other half of this equation of motivation and significance for the production of his art.

    The ownership of Van Noordt paintings by various people in...

  9. CHAPTER FOUR Exempla of Love and Virtue: A Penchant in the Themes of Jan van Noordt’s History Paintings
    (pp. 51-74)

    In the early years of the seventeenth century, many new themes appeared in Dutch history painting. It was a time of change; the flourishing trading economy of the northern Netherlands brought great prosperity to the merchants of its cities, especially Amsterdam. Religion and education were high priorities, as reflected in theological debates, book publishing, and in the rapid expansion of history painting production. Many of the themes appearing in these history paintings had been appropriated from the print tradition, especially illustrations made for Bibles and volumes on mythology. By mid-century, when Jan van Noordt began to produce history paintings, the...

  10. CHAPTER FIVE Jan van Noordt’s Drawings: Pictorial Technique and Function
    (pp. 75-81)

    For most seventeenth-century Dutch painters, the making of drawings was a vital part of their practice. It typically served as the preliminary stage of producing finished works in print or paint. This was true for Jan van Noordt, as scholarship has increasingly showed in recent decades. Initially, scholarly understanding of his drawings was frustrated by the lack of signed examples that could serve as a touchstone for identifying his drawing style. For many years, art historians hesitated to attribute drawings to him, sometimes even when there was a direct connection to a painting known to be by him. Thus the...

  11. Conclusion
    (pp. 82-84)

    Unconstrained by a normalizing academic system or by Church patronage, the Dutch Golden Age produced many highly creative and individual painters. This achievement was in turn fostered by the many Netherlanders who directed their interest and financial support to artists and their work, and in the 1660s Jan van Noordt was one of the painters who benefited from this climate. In this, his third decade of activity, he generated a distinct and original style. He synthesized the fashionable Flemish model with his own aesthetic, which had been based largely on the work of Jacob Backer, his teacher, and Rembrandt of...

  12. Paintings
    (pp. 87-285)
  13. Drawings
    (pp. 287-317)
  14. Prints
    (pp. 319-334)
  15. APPENDIX Documents Pertaining to the Life of Jan van Noordt
    (pp. 335-346)
  16. Notes
    (pp. 347-366)
  17. Works Cited
    (pp. 367-386)
  18. Index
    (pp. 387-394)
  19. Index of Current or Last Known Locations of Works
    (pp. 395-398)
    Jan van Noordt