Gerson Digital : Denmark


2.14 Landscape, Marine, Still Life and Architectural Painting

There is little to be said about Dutch-Danish landscape painting. One of the earliest examples, attributed to one Johan van Wijck, is a view of the old Frederiksborg Castle (Gripsholm), which is more or less comparable to the early Dutch landscapes by the likes of Esaias van de Velde [1].1 We also recall the landscapes in the background of the small pictures by Adriaen Muiltjes, which represent a slightly later stage of this kind of art.

It was not until the end of the century that Dutch landscape painters became acceptable at court and of use to the circles that were interested in art in general. In 1682 Johannes Glauber (1646-c. 1726) left Hamburg for Copenhagen for a half year, called there by [Ulrik Frederik] Gyldenløve.2 More important are the two Jacob Konincks, father and son, whose works in this genre are again difficult to differentiate because it is not certain to which of the two the documentary information applies. The younger Koninck [who spelled his name Coning, ed.], was sent to Norway to paint various cities which the king had visited in 1685 [2].3 In Denmark he immortalized Gyldenløve’s palace on canvas (1694; Frederiksborg) [3]. It is not a bad picture but weaker and more colorful than Dutch works of this time. The aspect of the prospect is strongly emphasized, and the perspective not altogether successful. The print cabinet has a preparatory drawing with a wild play of lines that betrays the hand of a lesser master [4].

Johan van Wijck (-1611) or possibly Hans Knieper
Hunting scene near the old Frederiksborg Castle, 1580-1584 or 1597-1613
canvas, oil paint 83 x 185 cm
Mariefred, Gripsholm Slott, inv./ 85

Jacob Coning
Akershus Fortress near Christiania/Oslo, dated 1699
canvas, oil paint 68 x 82.5 cm
on the back : Jacob Coning fecit An. 1699
Oslo, Nasjonalmuseet

Jacob Coning
The palace of Ulrik Frederik Gyldenløve (now Charlottenborg) in Copenhagen, seen from the horse stables, dated 1694
canvas, oil paint 70 x 111 cm
lower right : J. Coning . Pinxit / A i694.
Hillerød (Frederiksborg), The National Museum of History Frederiksborg Castle, inv./ A 41

Jacob Coning
The palace of Ulrik Frederik Gyldenløve (now: Charlottenborg) in Copenhagen, seen from the stables, 1693 (dated)
paper, pen in grey ink, washed, heightened in white, over graphite 316 x 504 mm
upper center : 1693
Copenhagen, SMK - The Royal Collection of Graphic Art, inv./ TD 513/6

The Brazilian pictures by Aelbert Eckhout (c. 1610-1663/67), with their meticulous representation of native tribes, are landscapes of an unusual kind. In 1654 Prince Johan Maurits van Nassau-Siegen offered 26 such paintings to King Frederick III as a gift [5-14].4 The prince adds that they can also be used as models for copies. Two years later a Laurens Baratta (active 1629-1656) [15] had already copied the entire series!5 As thanks for the gift, Johan Maurits was awarded the Great Order of the Elephant [16].6

Albert Eckhout
Still-life of tropical fruit, 1641-1643
canvas, oil paint 91 x 91 cm
Copenhagen, National Museum of Denmark, inv./ N.92

Albert Eckhout
Portrait of a Tapuya male with hunting gear, dated 1641
canvas, oil paint 273 x 167 cm
lower right : Æckhout fe. 1641 brasil
Copenhagen, National Museum of Denmark

Albert Eckhout
Still-life of Bottle Gourds, 1641-1643
canvas, oil paint 91 x 91 cm
Copenhagen, National Museum of Denmark, inv./ N.95

Albert Eckhout
Still-life of flowering coconut palm, nuts and red pepers, 1641-1643
canvas, oil paint 85 x 85 cm
Copenhagen, National Museum of Denmark, inv./ N.101

Albert Eckhout
Portrait of a Tupi woman with her child with a basket on her head, dated 1641
canvas, oil paint 274 x 163 cm
lower right : Æckhout fe. 1641 brasil
Copenhagen, National Museum of Denmark

Albert Eckhout
Still-life of slender gourds, 1641-1643
canvas, oil paint 93 x 94 cm
Copenhagen, National Museum of Denmark, inv./ N.97

attributed to Jaspar Beckx or attributed to Albert Eckhout
Portrait of a man from Congo in European dress, with a braided basket with 'missangas' (kralen) in his hand, probably a servant of Dom Miguel de Castro, c. 1640
panel, oil paint 72 x 62 cm
Copenhagen, SMK - National Gallery of Denmark, inv./ KMS 9

Albert Eckhout
Portrait of a black man with spears and assegai, dated 1641
canvas, oil paint 273 x 167 cm
lower right : Æckhout fe. 1641 brasil
Copenhagen, National Museum of Denmark, inv./ N.38A7

Jaspar Beckx or Albert Eckhout
Portrait of a man from Congo with an elephant's tusk in his hands, probably a servant of Dom Miguel de Castro, c. 1640
panel (oak), oil paint 72 x 62 cm
Copenhagen, SMK - National Gallery of Denmark, inv./ KMS 8

Anoniem Nederlanden (hist. regio) ca. 1643
Portrait of Don Miguel de Castro, ambassador of Congo, c. 1643
panel, oil paint 75 x 62 cm
Copenhagen, SMK - National Gallery of Denmark, inv./ KMS7

Laurens Barata
Frederiksborg Castle from the south, King Frederick III of Denmark on horseback, dated 1652
canvas, oil paint 206 x 206 cm
bottom (positional attribute) : L. Baratta
Mariefred, Gripsholm Slott, inv./ 1143

Jan de Baen
Portrait of Johan Maurits van Nassau-Siegen (1604-1679), c. 1668-1670
canvas, oil paint 157.2 x 114 cm
The Hague, Koninklijk Kabinet van Schilderijen Mauritshuis, inv./ 5

The Dutch marine draftsmen and painters probably also visited Danish waters at least once. We have a drawn view of Helsingør with Kronborg Castle (collection Bruce S. Ingram, London) by Hendrik Vroom [17].7 In 1658 Willem van de Velde I (c. 1611-1693) accompanied the fleet to make sketches of the battle on the Sound, which were intended to serve as models for paintings at a later date (sketches in Copenhagen and also a painting of 1661) [18-19].8 An unknown Peter van de Velde (1634-1722/23) had depicted this same battle in a painting of 1658 (Rijksmuseum) [20].9 Philip van Macheren (active 1651-after 1675) is also to have served as war artist with the Danish and Swedish fleets, but the pictures appear to have been lost.

Hendrik Vroom
View of Helsingør and Kronborg Castle, c. 1619
blue paper, pen in brown ink 120 x 379 mm
upper center : d sondt
Cambridge (England), Fitzwilliam Museum, inv./ PD. 885-1963

Peter van de Velde (II)
Naval battle in the Sound, 8 November 1658, dated 167[.]
panel, oil paint 70 x 107.5 cm
location unknown : P.V.V. 167.
Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, inv./ SK-A-3271

Willem van de Velde (I)
The Battle of the Sound 1658, c. 1665
canvas, grisaille 113 x 153 cm
Hillerød (Frederiksborg), The National Museum of History Frederiksborg Castle, inv./ 2830

Pieter van der Hult
Self portrait of Pieter van der Hulst IV, dated 1686
paper, etching (printing process), copper engraving (printing process) 201 x 150 mm
center right : PvH f i686
Amsterdam, Rijksprentenkabinet, inv./ RP-P-1885-A-9355

Willem van de Velde (I)
The Dutch fleet in the roads of Copenhagen, 1658
paper, pencil, grey wash 537 x 2080 mm
Copenhagen, SMK - The Royal Collection of Graphic Art, inv./ KKSgb6775

Towards the end of the century we encounter several practitioners of Netherlandish still-life painting in Copenhagen. Pieter van der Hulst IV (1651-1727) [21] was a gifted artist who was the author of several portraits [22].10 He also saw the animals that he painted with the eyes of a portraitist, be it a Dalmation that one can admire in the collection of Nivå [23] or a large bird which ‘had been captured in the ice between Sontholm and Amak’ (painting of 1695 in Rosenborg) [24]. 11 His works often go under false names. The mentioned hound used to be attributed to Aelbert Cuyp, and in the Cabinet des Estampes in Paris I saw monogrammed etchings identified as works by Paulus van Hillegaert I.12 Pieter van der Hulst lived in Denmark from 1691 to 1699, before returning to Dordrecht, his native city.

Pieter van der Hult
Portrait of Live Larsdatter, Tycho Brahe's housemaid (1575-1698), dated 1691
unknown, oil paint 102 x 92 cm
upper left : Anno 1575 ...
Hillerød (Frederiksborg), The National Museum of History Frederiksborg Castle, inv./ R 95

Pieter van der Hult
Smew (Mergellus albellus), dated 1695
canvas, oil paint 43 x 62 cm
right : Å. 1695 / Den 16. Januari. is dese / Vogel gefangen opt ijs / tussche / Southolm. en Amack / P. vander Hult. fecit.
Copenhagen, The Royal Danish Collection - Rosenborg Castle, inv./ 32-11

Pieter van der Hult
Portrait of a Dalmatian with six puppies, dated 17[..]
canvas, oil paint 83 x 104 cm
lower right : P v H[ult?] Ao 17[..?]
Nivå (Denmark), Nivaagaards Malerisamling, inv./ 0030NMK

Whereas Van der Hulst belongs to the practitioners of the hunt still life, with which all hunt-loving great of the earth like to surround themselves, Cornelis Norbertus Gijsbrechts (active 1657-1675) represents the illusionistic still life in an exceptionally refined and – we do not hesitate to say it – unartistic way. His pictures must have been much sought after by lovers of the art of painting, since we still encounter them in many Danish collections. The high point of illusionism is represented by a picture rendered on both the front and back of a glass-covered cupboard, which creates a striking effect (Copenhagen, inv. 3076) [25]. Gijsbrechts probably worked in Copenhagen for only a few years, from 1668 to about 1672.13 One Claes Bellekin (1620-after 1675) continued his approach in Denmark to the end of the century [26].14

Cornelis Norbertus Gijsbrechts
Trompe l'oeil of a cabinet of curiosities with an ivory tankard, dated 1670
canvas, oil paint, wood (plant material), iron 99.4 x 89.3 cm
lower right : C. N. Gijsbrechts A° 1670
Copenhagen, SMK - National Gallery of Denmark, inv./ KMS3076

Claes Bellekin
Trompe-l'oeil with violin, c. 1670
canvas, oil paint 90 x 65.5 cm
in verso : C BeLLekin. f.
London, art dealer Rafael Valls Limited, inv./ cat. nr. 2 (2012)

Ottomar Elliger (I) and after David Beck
Portrait of King Frederik III of Denmark (1609-1670) in a cartouche of flowers and fruit, dated 1654
canvas, oil paint 114 x 79 cm
lower right : O. Elliger 1654
Hillerød (Frederiksborg), The National Museum of History Frederiksborg Castle, inv./ R 191

Nor does the flower piece go missing in this country. Ottomar Elliger I (1633-1679), born in Copenhagen (or Göteborg) and raised in Amsterdam and Antwerp, wrapped flower wreaths around portraits of Frederick III [27] and other individuals, while Jan Pauwels Gillemans II (1651-1704) decorated a portrait of Christian V in the same manner (Frederiksborg) [28].15 One ‘Conrad Contrafejer’ followed these models cautiously and meticulously, and when he had at last completed all the flowers, he signed his art work with his full name: ‘C.C.G. Conradt Invenit et Pinxit a 1672’ (exhibition Copenhagen 1891).16 Even if he is not a Dutch master, he is still someone who worked after Dutch models.17

When we report that even Emanuel de Witte (1617-1692) had a work for the ‘Croon van Denemarcken’ in progress in 1658, we can certainly say that Frederick III was an art-loving ruler who did not take satisfaction with portraits and curiosities only.18 De Witte’s picture was never delivered, however, although the Danish consul repeatedly admonished the painter.19

Jan Pauwel Gillemans (I) and after Jacques d' Agar
Fruit on a stone cartouche surrounding a portrait of King Christian V, c. 1685
unknown, oil paint 90 x 68 cm
: J. P Gillemans
Hillerød (Frederiksborg), The National Museum of History Frederiksborg Castle, inv./ R 192


1 [Gerson 1942/1983] See § 2.4 and 2.8 above [on Johan van Wijck]. [Van Leeuwen 2015] Attributed to Hans Knieper and dated ca. 1580-1584 by Steffen Heiberg on the bases of the same outline of the old Frederiksborg in a tapestry by Hans Knieper in Kronborg Castle (Heiberg et al. 1988, p. 21, no. 1).

2 [Van Leeuwen 2015] Gerson drew here on Arnold Houbraken (Houbraken 1717-1721, vol. 3, p. 218). Possibly Glauber painted decorations for Charlottenborg.

3 [Van Leeuwen 2015] On Jacob Coning and Johan Herman Coning, see § 2.13, note 3 and 4. Many Norwegian landscape paintings have already been added to RKD Explore. These works will be more closely considered in the Gerson publication on Norway.

4 [Van Leeuwen 2015] For the 26 bequeathed paintings, see Berlowicz et al. 2002 , pp. 34-62, nos. 1-24, ill. in colour. One or two of the 26 works have been lost (Berlowicz et al. 2002, p. 35, note 5). See also Buvelot 2004, pp. 17-21 and figs. 50-73.

5 [Van Leeuwen 2015] The Italian painter and printmaker Lazarus/Lornzo/Laurents Barat(t)a was active in Utrecht in 1628-1629. In 1652 he was in Denmark, where he painted a view of Frederiksborg (RKDimages 255833). Barata did not copy Eckhout’s works but treated them for purposes of conservation after their arrival in Denmark (Buvelot 2004, p. 145, note 111).

6 [Gerson 1942/1983] Thomsen 1938, pp. 11-12. [Van Leeuwen 2015] The Order of the White Elephant, usually worn low on a blue sash, is to be seen on virtually all of the portraits done after 1654.

7 [Van Leeuwen 2015] In the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, since 1963. Also two paintings by Vroom are known representing Helsingør and Kronborg Castle (illutrated here).

8 [Gerson 1942/1983] Cf. Gerson 1942/1983, p. 421 (in the chapter on England). [Van Leeuwen 2015] Gerson was probably  talking about the painting  in Frederiksbog Castle (iillustrated here), that was reported to be dated 1661 in Hillerød 1936 (no. 1021, fig.); this date is not mentioned by Robinson 1990 (vol. I, pp. 28-29, no. 327), who dates the painting c. 1665.

9 [Van Leeuwen 2015] The painting depicts the naval battle of 1658, but was painted in the 1670s (see dating). In view of the long period of activity of the Antwerp Peter van de Velde, it is very well possible that not one but two artists (possibly father and son) working in the same atelier are involved. Many of the paintings attributed to Peter van de Velde look like mass-produced work and would have one suspect that he also produced hackwork intended for export for dealer Guilam Forchondt (text M. de Kinkelder in RKDartists).

10 [Van Leeuwen 2015] It looks as if Van der Hulst painted mainly rarities while in Denmark. For instance, he made a portrait ofTycho Brahe’s housekeeper, who said is to have become 123 years old.

11 [Van Leeuwen 2015] However, Van der Hulst did not render the painting of the Dalmations in Denmark but after his return to the Dutch Republic. The painting only came to Denmark in 1911 (Madsen 1949). The painting of a bird carries the inscription ‘This bird was captured on 16 January on the ice between Saltholm and Amager / P. Van der Hulst fecit‘ (Ao 1695 / Den 16. Januari. Is dese / Vogel gefangen opt ijs / tusschen / Southolm. en Amack / P. Vander Hult. Feci’). We owe the identification of the two islands to Peter Kristansen (Rosenborg Castle, May 2014).

12 [Van Leeuwen 2015] Sander Erkens attributes these prints to Paulus van Hillegaert II (1621-1658). See RKDimages 252235, 252242 and 252897.

13 [Van Leeuwen 2015] See Koester/Brusati et al. 1999, pp. 36-42 and Koester/Runia 2005, pp. 9-10. The exhibition in the Mauritshuis in 2005 was entirely devoted to Gijsbrechts’ activity in Denmark. See also Roding 2001 and De la Fuente Pedersen 2005.

14 [Van Leeuwen 2015] Gammelbo 1960, p. 170, no. 264. In Gerson’s time, the artist was only known from archival records (Schmidt 1917A).

15 [Van Leeuwen 2015] The image of Christian V in this painting is based on portraits by Jacques d’Agar (1640-1715), who was active as court painter to the king from 1683 on. Gillemans may already have met D’Agar in London in 1678 and again in The Netherlands in 1685-1686. Possibly the painting ended up in Denmark via D’Agar.

16 [Van Leeuwen 2015] Copenhagen 1891, p. 9, no. 33, with a facsimile of the signature. We have not been able to locate an illustration of the work (RKDimages 246184). Precisely such a signature is found on a still life in the Städtische Kunstsammlungen Augsburg (RKDimages 246178).

17 [Van Leeuwen 2015] The artist is not the same as Christian Conrad I (active 1681- 1720) or II (1692-1760) from Silesia, as has been assumed (Krämer 1984, p. 50). He may have been the ‘Conrad Contrafejer’ or Conrad Frandsen, who worked for the Danish King as painter and dancer between 1651 and 1682 and who left for Norway in the latter year (Copenhagen 1891, p. 9).

18 [Van Leeuwen 2015] From about 1660 to 1670, three Delft perspectival boxes were acquired for the Danish Royal Kunstkammer, two of which Liedtke attributed to Hendrick van Vliet (Liedtke 1976, pp. 131-132). See also Koester/Brusati et al. 1999, pp. 278-285, nos. 57-59.

19 [Gerson 1942/1983] Houbraken 1718-1721, vol. I, p. 284; Bredius 1915-1921, vol. 5, p. 1832. – Here, at the end of our enumeration of Dutch painters in Denmark, follow several names unworthy of being mentioned in the text: Marten de Cock, a draftsman. A sheet inscribed ‘1623 [or 5, ed.] Copenhage’ which came up for sale at the Berch van Heemstede et al. auction in Amsterdam, 5.6.1905, no. 1224 [Van Leeuwen 2015: now in the Rijksprentenkabinet, Amsterdam, RKDimages 246814] ; In 1658 Adam Pick, painter, innkeeper and wine buyer, was about to go to Denmark as ‘Capitain in dienst van Sijne Con. Majt van Denemarken’ (Bredius 1888, pp. 297-298; Danish painters in the Dutch Republic: Pieter Mathysse, van Schoone, 30 years old, married in 1663 in Amsterdam (De Vries 1885, p. 229) [Van Leeuwen 2015: Schoonen means Skåne, then Danish territory but Swedish since 1658]; Laurens Floor from Frederikstad married in Amsterdam in 1664 (Bredius 1915-1921, vol. 4, pp. 1112-1117); Kroese, a Dane, 22 years old in 1670, painter in The Hague, and ‘Arent Hendrickse Harpenist, in historien, pictor Regis Daniae, 1670, 36 jaer out’ (Bredius 1890, pp. 3 and 226).

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