BREEN, Adam van
(b. ca. 1585, Amsterdam, d. ca. 1642, Norway)

Biography

Dutch painter and printmaker. He worked in The Hague between 1611 and 1618. He married in 1611 and in 1612 he was registered with the guild in this town.

Essentially a painter of winter landscapes, his style is close to that of van de Velde who also worked in The Hague, although he was more often inspired by Hendrick and Barend Avercamp in his choice of subjects. Contrary to these two painters, the characters he features in his paintings are stockier and have a more confirmed presence; he sometimes even goes as far as painting the portrait of some of them. Although a landscape painter, he was undoubtedly influenced by the official context of The Hague, which was the seat of the court and the government on several occasions during its history, and developed a remarkable school of portrait painters.

Active for a time in Norway, working on commissions from King Christian IV such as the decoration of Akershus Castle (after 1624). Other works include a painting (1630-1631) of an enormous piece of silver found at Kongsberg, where the King had opened silver mines and founded the town. He also painted an altarpiece of the Last Supper (1633) for Kongsberg Church (now the Lyngdal Church), based on an engraving by Magdalene van de Passe; it was extremely popular and inspired similar designs in rural churches in the Numedal valley. Several handsome portraits were also executed during his Norwegian period.



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