Jan van de Velde II, Night, an etching with engraving

The Netherlands, around AD 1620 (state II)

One of four landscape etchings illustrating the times of day

Jan van de Velde II (about 1593-1641) was one of the group of Dutch artists working in Haarlem during the second decade of the 1600s, who created the distinctive Dutch seventeenth-century landscape. Night retains features of an earlier type of landscape, created in Rome by the German painter Elsheimer, and brought to the Netherlands by Hendrick Goudt. The wedge of dark trees silhouetted against the sky derives from Elsheimer, as does the night setting with a moon reflected on water. But the boats on the water, with sails breaking the low horizon, were to become characteristic elements of later Dutch landscapes, visible in the works of Meindert Hobbema (1638-1709) and Jacob van Ruisdael (1628/9-82).

Van de Velde's father, Jan van de Velde I, was a famous Antwerp calligrapher who had moved to the northern Netherlands in 1592 to escape religious persecution. The elegant lettering at the base on this plate reveals his influence. These inscriptions, and the production of prints in series, catered for a taste that combined illustration with education or instruction.

Van de Velde II shows his skill as a printmaker by densely hatching his shadows without allowing the surface of the copper plate to break up in the acid bath. The result resembles a photographic negative, so that etched lines represent blackness, and the scraps of unmarked paper, gleaming like glow-worms in the night, define fields, foliage, clouds and the moon.

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More information


D. Freedberg, Dutch landscape prints of the (London, The British Museum Press, 1980)


Height: 133.000 mm
Width: 221.000 mm

Museum number

PD S. 5959 (Hollstein 74)



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