The Arts is a descriptive way of classifying various forms of self expression: from singing and playing instruments to drawing, sculpting and photography; but one of the oldest, and most well known to man, art forms is painting. Archeologists have found paintings all over the world dating back millennia, and students have studied the artwork of long dead painters for centuries, trying to understand what the painter may have been thinking or how he saw the world while painting. Great painters come from all over the world: Da Vinci from Italy, Piccaso from Spain, and many more have added to the culture and beauty of the world we live in today. Take a look at the top 10 greatest Dutch painters of all time.
List of Top 10 Greatest Dutch Painters of All Time
10. Willem de Kooning
Born in 1904 in Rotterdam, Netherlands, Willem de Kooning travelled to America at the young age of 23 and after WWII became part of a group of painters that would be later known as the New York School. Starting out with still-lifes dominated by abstract shapes and bold colors, he dabbled in black and whites before moving on to what he is most famous for, a Woman series he began in 1950. With his notable works came influences in the American abstract movement and also the American Feminist movement, catapulting the current values of his works into the hundred million dollar range.
9. Johannes Bosboom
Born February 18, 1817 in The Hague, Netherlands, Johannes Bosboom was just 14 when he started working on artistic projects for the Royal Theatre with his mentor’s son. Bosboom took lessons at the Hague Academy of Art, and after spending some time abroad painting watercolors in Germany and architecture in Paris, he returned to The Hague where he spent the rest of his life painting church interiors, for which he is most famous, until his death in 1891.
8. Kees van Dongen
Born Cornelis Theodorus Maria van Dongen in 1877 in Delfshaven, a borough of Rotterdam, Kees began his studies at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts at age 16, and soon after began visiting the docks where he started the foundation for his garish reputation as an artist by painting sailors and prostitutes. After a brief marriage that resulted in a child, Kees began to mesh his personal and professional lives, becoming involved with a married woman that greatly influenced his work during that time period, landing him in a movement of avant-garde and placing him in high demand to the upper class in Paris.
7. Hans Gillisz Bollongier
Born around 1600, little is known of Hans, other than that he specialized solely in flower and fruit still-lifes. Most famous for painting flowers in full bloom, and also rumored to have started what is known as Tulip Mania, Hans became influential to other Haarlem painters of the time period by creating his own unique style while still conforming to strict rules of what did or did not constitute as a good piece.
6. Rachel Ruysch
Born in 1664 in The Hague, Rachel Ruysch was the daughter of an amateur painter and started at young age painting still-lifes of her father’s collections of flowers and bugs. She worked with many horticulturalists in her youth, which resulted in her apprenticeship with one of the most prominent flower painters in Amsterdam, Willem van Aelst. While it is rumored that Ruysch was part of the same guild that Hans Bollongier belonged to, and the similarities of their styles would certainly support that theory, it is certain that Ruysch was the first female member of the Confrerie Pictura.
5. Pieter Bruegel the Elder
Born in 1525 in the Netherlands, Pieter Bruegel the Elder is most famous for his genre paintings of peasants and landscapes. A pioneer during Renaissance times, Bruegel was among the first to make peasants the main focus of his work and his paintings offer insight into a way of life that has disappeared. Also adept at religious concepts, he completed two well know allegorical pieces, The Virtues and The Seven Deadly Sins, both done in the 1550’s and influenced by Hieronymus Bosch.
4. Jan Toorop
Born Johannes Theodorus Toorop on December 20, 1858 on the Dutch East Indies island of Java to Dutch parents, Jan Toorop left Indonesia at age 11 and travelled to the Netherlands where he studied in different cities until 1880 when he became a student at Rijksakademie. For the following years he would paint in a variety of styles until his marriage in 1886. Toorop would continue to move around from city to city, splitting his time between his work in the Netherlands and his wife in England, and would paint for another 40 years before his death in 1928, transitioning back and forth between pointillism, symbolism and art nouveau.
3. Caspar Netscher
Born in 1639 in northern Netherlands, Caspar Netscher is most famous for successfully bringing and international style of painting to the Netherlands with his masterful work portraying silks and oriental rugs in his artwork. Though his childhood was marked with the hardships of losing his father and two eldest brothers, Caspar was adopted by a wealthy physician whose contacts led to him being able to study under Ter Borsch before moving to Italy to complete his education. After receiving patronage from William III, he changed his style of painting to depict musical and conversational portraits.
2. Hieronymus Bosch
Born Jheronimus van Aken in the Netherlands in 1450, Hieronymus Bosch is most famous for his attention to detail in his artwork, especially in his fantastically vivid portrayals of hell. During his lifetime, collectors from Austria, Spain and the Netherlands began seeking his work, leading to his work being copied. During his life he amassed a notable following, including some of the most well known painters to come out of the Netherlands, and is known today for his unique individualism, even though it is believed that less than #0 of his paintings survived the centuries.
1. Vincent van Gogh
Born in 1853, Vincent van Gogh is arguably the most famous Dutch painter, lending his talents and paving the way for much of Western art. Before painting, van Gogh was an art dealer and was already suffering from mental issues when he began painting in 1881. Despite his contribution to the art world with the completion of over 2100 works of art depicting everything from still-lifes to portraits, van Gogh’s degraded mental state affected his life greatly, landing him in a psychiatric hospital and eventually leading to his suicide in 1890.
These above are the Top 10 Greatest Dutch Painters of All Time. People around the world have taken comfort and found understanding in paintings for hundreds of years, and the great painters of the Netherlands have contributed more than their fair share of beautiful works of art.