Overview

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Jan Baptist Weenix (Amsterdam 1621-1660/1 Huis ter May)
Jan Baptist Weenix (Amsterdam 1621-1660/1 Huis ter May)

An Italianate landscape with a ruined Doric colonnade, a herdsman with cattle and sheep at rest, horsemen and figures beyond

Details
Jan Baptist Weenix (Amsterdam 1621-1660/1 Huis ter May)
An Italianate landscape with a ruined Doric colonnade, a herdsman with cattle and sheep at rest, horsemen and figures beyond
signed and indistinctly dated '165. Gió: Batta: Weenix' (lower right)
oil on canvas
47 x 47½ in. (119.4 x 120.7 cm.)
Provenance
with inventory number '245' on the reverse of the canvas.
with P.D. Colnaghi & Co.

Lot Essay

This painting is characteristic of Weenix's work after his return from Italy. Like the other Dutch Italianate painters of his generation, including Jan Asselijn and Pieter van Laer whom he befriended and with whom he later collaborated, he was influenced by the distinctive Mediterranean light and the classical buildings and ruins in Rome and the Campagna. The landscape in this composition, although here unidentifiable, was probably based on the red chalk drawings of landscapes he made in Italy. For his figures he often drew studies which he then used in his paintings (see P. Schatborn, catalogue of the exhibition Dutch Figure Drawings from the 17th Century, Rijksmuseum, 1982, no. 99). An engraving, Bull with two cows (Hollstein, LI, no. 1), can be related to the bull in the lower left corner of this painting.

In Italy he became a member of the group of predominately Dutch artists, known as the Bamboccianti. During this period, Jan Baptist developed his new signature, presumably in honour of his patron, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Pamphili, using the Italian derivative of his name 'Gio[vanni] Batt[ist]a Weenix', as indeed it appears in this painting.

This picture can be compared to a picture of a similar subject and composition in the collection of the Duke of Devonshire, Chatsworth. In both, the light tones and the gentle landscape, contrasted with the classical ruins, are reminiscent of Claude Lorraine, whose work had a significant impact on Weenix. Such was the popularity of this style of Italianate landscape within Dutch culture, that he continued to produce many works of similar subject matter for several years.
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