Wallstein Verlag

Jan van Goyen »Painting Bad«

Schilderachtig Landscape Imagery in Early Seventeenth-Century Dutch Art

Reihe: BildEvidenz

The word schilderachtig – painterly – captures the paradoxical phenomenon that early seventeenth-century Dutch landscape paintings emphatically favor the unassuming nature of the countryside in order to bring out the very artfulness of their pictorial representation.

Dutch seventeenth-century landscape painting has often been characterized as schilderachtig – literally: »painterly.« Referring to a certain looseness in the handling of the brush, the seemingly tautological and rarely critically discussed term also captures the idea that the landscape image »realistically« renders the, rather unassuming, idiosyncrasies of the Dutch countryside, including the often-overcast skies, moist and windy atmospheric conditions, without any aesthetic or other value judgement about the appropriateness of these motifs for a work of art. The book argues that early in the seventeenth century, however, the term had specifically rhyparographic connotations related to the proverbial Hollandse botheid (»Dutch rudeness«). In accordance, Jan van Goyen (1596-1656) and others began to depict base and even hideous aspects of the countryside not as the coincidental result of an indiscriminatory pictorial mimesis concept, but resulting from a preference for motifs of questionable »paint-worthiness« – in order, by way of contrast, to bring out the painter`s art-full representational skill per se. Schilderachtig stood for the contradictio in picturis of Hollandse botheid as a paradoxical means to evince »painterly« artifice.
Reindert Falkenburg

Reindert Falkenburg held Professorships in Art History in Berkeley (GTU), Leiden University, and NYU Abu Dhabi; Fellowships and Visiting Professorships i. a. in Amsterdam, Boston, Princeton, Santa Barbara and Berlin. Publications i. a.: Joachim Patinir: ...


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