Constituent Image
Jean Meyssens and Coen Waumans after Abraham Willers, Jan Both, engraving, in Sebastiano Resta, The True Effigies of the Most Eminent Painters, and Other Famous Artists That Have Flourished in Europe (London, 1694), pl. 49, National Gallery of Art Library, David K. E. Bruce Fund
Both, Jan
Dutch, 1615/1618 - 1652
 

Cut-and-paste citation text:

Lara Yeager-Crasselt, Arthur K. Wheelock Jr., “Jan Both,” NGA Online Editions, http://purl.org/nga/collection/constituent/3584 (accessed December 17, 2014).

 

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Biography

Jan Both was born in Utrecht probably between 1615 and 1618.[1] His father, Dirck Both, a glass painter, may have introduced him to the rudiments of the trade, but he almost certainly received training from a different master as well.[2] A record from the Utrecht Saint Luke’s Guild, presumably referring to Jan, notes that in 1634–1636 a son of Dirck Both was apprenticed to an unnamed master from the guild. This master was probably [[tmsobjecturl:artist:2384]], with whom Jan’s older brother [[tmsobjecturl:artist:3583]] had been apprenticed in 1624 and 1625.[3] Jan left Utrecht for Rome in the mid-1630s, joining his brother, who had gone to Italy in 1633.[4] Jan appears in the records of the Accademia di San Luca on June 12, 1638, in attendance at a meeting of fellow artists.[5] In 1639 and 1641, he is documented as living with his brother on the Via Vittoria in the parish of San Lorenzo in Lucina, a popular district for foreign artists.[6]

Both’s stay in Rome was short-lived. By 1642 he had returned to Utrecht, where he established himself as an independent master, and in that same year he took on his first apprentice, Hendrick Verschuuring (1627–1690).[7] In 1649 Jan was elected overman (regent) of the Saint Luke’s Guild in Utrecht, a post he held jointly with Jan Baptist Weenix (1621–1660/1661) and [[tmsobjecturl:artist:5241]].[8] Both remained in the city until his death and he was buried on August 9, 1652, in the Buurkerk.[9]

It was after his return to Utrecht that Both produced the bulk of his work, which consisted of paintings, drawings, and etchings of pastoral, religious, or mythological subjects set in Italianate landscapes. He received his most important commission, however, while still in Italy. In 1640 Both was among a group of artists, including [[tmsobjecturl:artist:1145]], [[tmsobjecturl:artist:1798]], [[tmsobjecturl:artist:3979]], and [[tmsobjecturl:artist:2769]], involved in the decoration of Philip IV’s newly built summer retreat, the Buen Retiro palace in Madrid. The details of the commission remain obscure, but Both completed at least five large landscape paintings by 1641. His idyllic depictions of the Italian countryside suggest the classicizing influence of Claude, but also that of his fellow northerners in Rome such as [[tmsobjecturl:artist:4561]], [[tmsobjecturl:artist:2402]], and Poelenburch.  

According to Both’s earliest biographer, the German artist [[tmsobjecturl:artist:11662]], Jan and his brother Andries had collaborated frequently in Rome, with Jan painting the landscapes and Andries the figures.[10] Upon returning to Utrecht, Jan continued the collaborative practice with artists such as Poelenburch and Weenix.[11] One such group effort was a portrait done collectively in 1644 by [[tmsobjecturl:artist:3972]], Bartholomeus van der Helst (c. 1613–1670), and Poelenburch for the Utrecht collector Willem Vincent, Baron van Wyttenhorst, for which Jan was asked to paint the background landscape.[12] In 1648 Both gave a portrait of himself, painted by Poelenburch, to Van Wyttenhorst, a testament to the close relationship he had gained with his collector.

[1] The date of Jan’s birth as first documented by Sandrart has been contested by some scholars. De Bruyn places it at about 1618 or slightly later, while Blankert has argued for an earlier date, c. 1615. The Utrecht municipal archives contain no birth or baptismal records before 1612, and records between 1612 and 1626 exist only for two churches.   

[2] Arnold Houbraken, De groote schouburgh der Nederlantsche konstschilders en schilderessen, 3 vols. (The Hague, 1753; reprint, Amsterdam, 1976), 2:114.

[3] Joachim von Sandrart, Joachim von Sandrarts Academie der Bau-, Bild- und Mahlerey-Künste von 1675: Leben der berühmten Maler, Bildhauer und Baumeister, ed. A. R. Peltzer (Munich, 1925), 312; Arnold Houbraken, De groote schouburgh der Nederlantsche konstschilders en schilderessen, 3 vols. (The Hague, 1753; reprint, Amsterdam, 1976), 2:114. The Utrecht archives record Andries’ apprenticeship with Bloemaert from 1624 to 1625, though they only name a son of “Dirck Bot.” Scholars have assumed it could only be Andries, given that he was born around 1611–1612, and would have been of appropriate age to hold an apprenticeship in those years. The document is found in Samuel Muller, De Utrechtsche archieven, I: schildersvereeingen te Utrecht (Utrecht, 1880), 118–122.       

[4] Joachim von Sandrart, Joachim von Sandrarts Academie der Bau-, Bild- und Mahlerey-Künste von 1675: Leben der berühmten Maler, Bildhauer und Baumeister, ed. A. R. Peltzer (Munich, 1925), 312; Arnold Houbraken, De groote schouburgh der Nederlantsche konstschilders en schilderessen, 3 vols. (The Hague, 1753; reprint, Amsterdam, 1976), 2:114; Malcolm R. Waddingham, “Andries and Jan Both in France and Italy,” Paragone 171 (1964): 19; James Burke, Jan Both: Paintings, Drawings, and Prints (New York, 1976), 34. Andries was first recorded in the French city of Rouen in 1633 and then in Rome in 1635.   

[5]  G. J. Hoogewerff, Bescheiden in Italië omtrent Nederlandsche kunstenaars en geleerden, 3 vols. (The Hague, 1917), 53.

[6]  G. J. Hoogewerff, Nederlandsche kunstenaars te Rome (1600–1725): uittreksels uit de parochiale archieven (The Hague, 1942), 108, 110. Jan and Andries are listed in both years under Strada Vittoria, dal Corso mano sinistra: Giovanni But di Olanda and Andrea But, fratello.

[7]  Arnold Houbraken, De groote schouburgh der Nederlantsche konstschilders en schilderessen, 3 vols. (The Hague, 1753; reprint, Amsterdam, 1976), 2:193.

[8] Samuel Muller, De Utrechtsche archieven, I: schildersvereeingen te Utrecht (Utrecht, 1880), 129.

[9]  James Burke, Jan Both: Paintings, Drawings, and Prints (New York, 1976), 35: Gemeente Archief, Utrecht, Begrafenisregister.

[10] Joachim von Sandrart, Joachim von Sandrarts Academie der Bau-, Bild- und Mahlerey-Künste von 1675: Leben der berühmten Maler, Bildhauer und Baumeister, ed. A. R. Peltzer (Munich, 1925), 312.

[11] Joachim von Sandrart, Joachim von Sandrarts Academie der Bau-, Bild- und Mahlerey-Künste von 1675: Leben der berühmten Maler, Bildhauer und Baumeister, ed. A. R. Peltzer (Munich, 1925), 312. This collaboration ended when Andries drowned in a Venetian canal on March 23, 1642, on his return trip to the Netherlands.

[12] C. H. de Jonge, “Utrechtse schilders der XVIIde eeuw in de verzameling van Willem Vincent, baron van Wyttenhorst,” Oudheidkundig Jaarboek, 4th serv. (1932): 123.

Arthur K. Wheelock Jr.

April 24, 2014

Bibliography

1753
Houbraken, Arnold. De Groote Schouburgh der Nederlantsche Konstschilders en Schilderessen. 3 vols. in 1. The Hague, 1753 (Reprint: Amsterdam, 1976): 2:114-117.
1880
Muller, Samuel. Schilders-Vereenigingen te Utrecht. De Utrechtsche Archieven 1. Utrecht, 1880: 118-122.
1917
Hoogewerff, G.J. Bescheiden in Italië omtrent Nederlandsche kunstenaars en geleerden. 3 vols. The Hague, 1917: 2:53.
1925
Sandrart, Joachim von. Joachim von Sandrarts Academie der Bau-, Bild, -und Mahlerey-Künste von 1675. Leben der berühmten Maler, Bildhauer und Baumeister. Edited by Alfred R. Peltzer. Abridged ed. Munich, 1925: 312.
1932
Jonge, C. H. de. "Utrechtse schilders der XVIIde eeuw in de verzameling van Willem Vincent, baron van Wyttenhorst". Oudheidkundig Jaarboek 4 (1932): 120-134.
1942
Hoogewerff, G.J. Nederlandsche kunstenaars te Rome (1600–1725): uittreksels uit de parochiale archieven. The Hague, 1942: 108-110.
1952
Bruyn, L. de. "Het geboortejaar van Jan Both". Oud Holland 66 (1952): 110-112.
1964
Waddingham, Malcolm R. "Andries and Jan Both in France and Italy". Paragone 171 (1964): 13-43.
1965
Blankert, Albert. Nederlandse 17e eeuwse Italianiserende landschapschilders. Exh. cat. Centraal Museum, Utrecht, 1965.
1972
Burke, James Donald. "Jan Both: Paintings, drawings, and prints." Ph.D. dissertation, Harvard University, Cambridge, 1972: 35.
1978
Blankert, Albert. Nederlandse zeventiende eeuwse Italianiserende landschapschilders. Revised and enlarged ed. Exh. cat. Centraal Museum, Utrecht. Soest, 1978: 20-23, 26-27, 112-115.
1987
Sutton, Peter C., et al. Masters of 17th-century Dutch Landscape Painting. Exh. cat. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Philadelphia Museum of Art. Boston, 1987: 276-277.
1988
Jansen, Guido, and Ger Luijten. Italianisanten en Bamboccianten: Het Italianiserende landschap en genre door Nederlandse kunstenaars uit de zeventiende eeuw. Rotterdam, 1988: 35-36.
2001
Schatborn, Peter. Drawn to Warmth: 17th-century Dutch Artists in Italy. Zwolle, 2001: 88-98.

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