MOLYN, Pieter de
(b. 1595, London, d. 1661, Haarlem)
Oil on wood, 26 x 36 cm
Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum, Braunschweig
Pieter Molyn was born of Flemish parents in London. Neither the date of his emigration to Holland nor the name of his teacher are known. There is no documentary evidence for the assertion found in the early literature that he studied with Frans Hals, however, he did provide landscapes for a few of Hals's portraits. In 1616 he joined the guild at Haarlem, where he spent most of his life. His earliest works show the influence of Mannerists, such as Bloemart and Savery, but much more important for him was the impact of Esaias van de Velde's art. Van de Velde was active in Haarlem when Molyn joined the guild there. Not much later, Molyn probably met Jan van Goyen, who was sent to Haarlem around 1617 to study with van de Velde.
Molyn's innovations are first seen in his modest Dunes, which abandons the device of breaking up a landscape into many layers. Scattered details seen from a low point of view have been subordinated to large areas of light and shadow, and the scene has been unified by prominent diagonals which lead the eye over the dunes past the small figures into the distance.