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Simon Jacobsz de Vlieger (1601 - 1653)

Simon Jacobsz de Vlieger
(1601 - 1653)
      Landscapes, Genre Scenes, Portraiture Art Work
Name: Simon Jacobsz de Vlieger
Gender: Male
Place of Birth: Rotterdam
Nationality: Dutch
Birth: 1601
Death: 1653
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   Quick Facts
Known For: Landscapes, Genre Scenes, Portraiture
Style: Baroque
Fine Art Profession(s): Painting

Not considered as great as Jan van Goyen or Jan van de Cappelle, de Vlieger is still regarded as the finest sea painter active in Holland during the 1630s and 1640s. His sea pictures form a transition between those of Jan Porcellis and Willem van de Velde the Younger, while his varied oeuvre includes landscapes, genre scenes, decorative projects, and occasional portraits. Most likely born in Rotterdam, Simon spent his early career there, marrying Anna Gerridts van Willige in 1627 and continuing to appear in Rotterdam's records until 1633. His teacher is unknown. By February 1634 he was renting a house in Delft, and in October he had joined the Delft guild. Four years later (1638) he bought a house in Rotterdam (12 March), but on 19 July of that year he was noted in a document as an artist living in Amsterdam. His professional activities included all three cities for the next decade. When Queen Maria de Medici entered Amsterdam on 31 August 1638, de Vlieger was one of the artists who designed decorations for the procession. Payment records of December 1640 and March 1641 document his design of a tapestry cartoon for Delft. In 1642 he was commissioned to paint organ shutters for the Grote Kerk in Rotterdam (for which he received 2,000 guilders on January 1645; the organ shutter doors were destroyed in 1788.) De Vlieger gained Amsterdam citizenship in on 5 January 1643, and he sold his Rotterdam house in September 1644. On 4 January 1648 the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam commissioned him to decorate the windows on the south side of the church for the sum of 6,000 guilders. In November 1648 he was still in Amsterdam, but by January of 1649 he had bought a house in Weesp, where his daughter married in 1651. The following year he was noted in Rotterdam (as a widower). His death took place in Weesp in March 1653. The poet Joost van den Vondel composed verses to mourn his passing. Although records mention de Vlieger's large-scale decorative programs, he is noted today for other aspects of his diverse activities, of which dated examples are preserved from 1624 on. His drawings and paintings of landscapes, animals, and figures are valued, but his important specialty was seascapes, the earliest of which date to the beginning of his career. Influenced by those of Porcellis, the early examples often feature ships sailing along rocky coasts. De Vlieger's portrayals are varied, including scenes of storms and calm seas with all kinds of vessels, from stately naval ships to humble fishing boats. De Vlieger is celebrated for his sensitivity to atmospheric conditions-a development particularly noticeable in his work after 1640 or thereabouts. The ships and figures in beach scenes play a secondary part to his depiction of cloudy skies and windy seas. A particularly fine example of his ability to interpret atmosphere is his Beach Scene (signed and dated 1643, The Hague, Mauritshuis). In his last works, atmosphere enveloped the ships he painted and in turn set the stage for the development of Willem van de Velde the Younger, Jan van de Cappelle, and Hendrick Dubbels. Though de Vlieger is sometimes regarded as a somewhat minor figure, recent scholarship has accorded his atmospheric treatments of marine themes a place among the most true and evocative in Dutch marine painting. De Vlicgcr's other landscapes have also been given attention recently. Though they are fewer in number than his marine subjects, his portrayals of wooded landscapes (such as those in Rotterdam, Museum Boymans-van Beuningen; in Stockholm, Nationalmuseum) are noteworthy. Landing Party on a Rugged Coast (signed and dated 1651, private collection) features an especially brilliant contrast of shadow and light, and anticipates the eighteenth-century landscape painters Hubert Robert and Claude Vernet. Their connection to the work of Herman Saftleven has also been well established. De Vlieger's animal etchings are among the earliest examples of their kind, and he also produced landscape etchings (ten in all).

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