Jan van Noordt: Painter of History and Portraits in Amsterdam
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Jan van Noordt created some of the most flamboyant and expressive paintings of the Dutch Golden Age. David de Witt untangles fact from fiction in this comprehensive study of the life and work of Jan van Noordt, offering a detailed biography based on a thorough review of the documentary evidence.
works were typically linked to the occasion of betrothal or marriage, with the young couple depicted along with one set of parents, as in the painting by Gerbrand van den Eeckhout in Toledo, where the couple occupies the foreground centre.52 In the portrait historié in Budapest by Artus Wolffort, formerly attributed to Van Noordt (cat. r28), the focus again is less on Scipio than on the bride, whose sexual innocence and purity is reﬂected in her conspicuously modest attitude. This historical
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 the 1630s and 1640s. Van Noordt’s portraits and history paintings of the 1660s combine robust forms modelled with strong light effects, powerful sweeping lines and rhythms, and a deft range of facture from smooth to painterly. In the next decade another dazzling turn occurred, when he unleashed a
and compassion. The moment of angelic intervention also provided a female parallel to the scene of Abraham’s sacriﬁce of Isaac. As with that story, the banishments of Hagar occur many times in the work of Rembrandt and his followers.2 The scene conceived by Jan van Noordt is remarkable in Dutch art for its dramatic force. The main ﬁgures crowd out the immediate foreground. The angel, especially, projects into the viewer’s space through the strong foreshortening of his ﬁgure. 1 See States Bible
evocative sense of mystery. history paintings c atalog ue 10 St John the Baptist Preaching, panel, 49.5 ϫ 65 cm, Oldenburg, Landesmuseum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte. Rembrandt school); Oldenburg 1881, 72–3, no. 174 (as Rembrandt school: Wulfhagen or De Wit); Oldenburg 1966, 87 (illus., as Backer) cat a lo gu e 10 St John the Baptist Preaching (Matthew 3:1–12; Mark 1:4–8; Luke 3:1–20), panel, 49.5 x 65 cm, Oldenburg, Landesmuseum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte (inv. no. 15.649, as Jacob
and a simple dress with a low decolleté, held up by a jewelled leather strap. The garment relates to the costumes in Van Noordt’s depictions of allegorical ﬁgures or goddesses of antiquity, such as Caritas (cat. 24), Venus (cat. 20, 22), and Juno (cat. 18). The attributes and dress in this picture history paintings liage, conﬁrm the connection to these pictures and point to a date between 1645 and 1650. Unfortunately, this painting is known only through photographs. point to an identiﬁcation