GOYEN, Jan van
(b. 1596, Leiden, d. 1656, Den Haag)


Dutch painter, one of the foremost pioneers of realistic landscape painting in the Netherlands. His earliest works are heavily indebted to his master Esaias van de Velde, but he then created a distinctive type of monochrome landscape in browns and greys with touches of vivid blue or red to catch the eye; gnarled oaks; wide plains, usually seen from a height; low horizons and clouded skies. He was one of the first painters to capture the quality of the light and air in a scene and to suggest the movement of clouds.

Most of his paintings seem to be based on drawings made as he travelled about the countryside, and he evidently used the same drawings again and again because the same motifs recur repeatedly in his works. His finest work has a sense of poetic calm as well as great freshness and luminosity of atmosphere. Van Goyen worked in his native Leiden, Haarlem, and The Hague, where he died. He was hugely prolific and had many pupils and imitators. With Salomon van Ruysdael, whose paintings are often virtually indistinguishable from his, he was the outstanding master of the 'tonal' phase of Dutch landscape painting, when the depiction of atmosphere was the artist's prime concern.