Gerson Digital : Italy


2.7 Marine Cavalry Battle Scene and Still-Life Painters in Rome

If we bear in mind that the Dutch landscape painters who flocked to Italy in such large numbers failed to exert any appreciable influence on contemporary artists in Rome, then expectations will hardly be too high of the success achieved by the occasional painters of marine, battle and historical scenes and of still lifes. The first marine painter to appear in Rome was Hendrik Vroom (1562/3-1640). Van Mander reports that he painted ‘after engravings as well as other things’ and that he was first taught by Paul Bril.1 We therefore have no reason to assume that Bril’s depictions of storms at sea were inspired by Vroom. On the contrary, to judge by the sources – and we have no knowledge of any paintings by Vroom from this period – Bril must be regarded as the source of inspiration. With the exception of an unknown painter called Pieter de Zeelander (active 1647/8), whose ‘Bent’ name was Kaper (Pirate), the other maritime artists – Abraham Willaerts (c. 1613-1669),2 Jan Theunisz Blankerhoff (1628-1669) [1], Reinier Zeeman (1623/3-1664) [2],3 Jan Abrahamsz. (1622-1666) and Abraham Beerstraaten (1643-1666)4 and Lieve Verschuier (1627-1686)5 – can be treated more as Mediterranean travellers. They were just as happy to paint Italian ports as they were to depict romantic landing places along the Turkish, Greek and African coast.6 It was not for nothing that Blankerhoff, Zeeman and Verschuier studied Claude Lorrain’s colourful sunsets. We will come on to Pieter Mulier II, who was here from 1666-1670, and Orazio van Grevenbroek a little later when we look around Northern Italy. The Frenchman, Adrien Manglard (1695-1760) [3-5],7 who worked in Rome for many years, is noted as an imitator of Adriaen van der Kabel. Kabel himself, however, was so Italianised that there can be no talk of Manglard having received any Dutch training.

Jan Theunisz. Blankerhoff
Mediterranean coast with the Genoa lighthouse
canvas, oil paint 50 x 69 cm
lower center : BH
Rome, Galleria Doria Pamphilj, inv./ 534

Reinier Zeeman
Zuidelijk kustlandschap met schepen in een baai
panel, oil paint 32.9 x 40 cm
lower right : R.ZeeMan
Christie's (Amsterdam (city)) 2008-05-06, nr. 9

Adrien Manglard
Harbor view with the tomb of Cecilia Metella, 1732
canvas, oil paint 45 x 88 cm
on the back : 1732
Rome, Galleria Doria Pamphilj

Adrien Manglard
Southern coastal landscape with figures and ships at a landing, in or before 1726
canvas, oil paint 96 x 135 cm
Turin, Galleria Sabauda, inv./ 147

Adrien Manglard
Neapolitan coastal view with a Dutch warship and fishermen in a harbour
canvas, oil paint 74.9 x 100.8 cm
lower right : A. Manglard
London/Munich, art dealer Konrad O. Bernheimer

Michelangelo Cerquozzi
Cavalry Fight
canvas, oil paint 51 x 175 cm
Grenoble, Musée de Grenoble, inv./ MG 15

The Roman equestrian battle scenes go back to Michelangelo Cerquozzi (1602-1660) [6-7]. 8 His teacher, the Fleming Jacob de Hase (1574/5-1634), was reportedly a highly competent master in this field. His contacts with Pieter van Laer then strengthened the Dutch elements in his style. At all events, the scenes of military life Cerquozzi painted are very closely related to those of the Bambocciate. As we noted earlier, when Jacques Courtois arrived in Rome in the late 1630s he teamed up with Cerquozzi, who engaged his services primarily to paint battle scenes [8]. According to the sources, however, he studied in Florence under ‘Giovanni Azzolino, known as Grabat’ and Rinaldo della Montagna (died 1661). 9 Giovanni Azzolino is Jan Asselijn (c. 1610-1652), of course, whom we met in Rome in 1641. Asselijn is known to have painted various equestrian battle scenes in his youth [9], thereby continuing the tradition established by Esaias van de Velde and Pieter de Neyn. 10 In Italy he soon stopped painting such scenes, but Courtois-Bourguignon very likely saw pictures of this kind in his studio. It is impossible to establish the impact Rinaldo della Montagne had on Courtois because the works of this obscure figure have long been forgotten.

Michelangelo Cerquozzi
Fight in a landscape with three columns on the right and barracks on the left
canvas, oil paint 71 x 105 cm
Rome, Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica - Palazzo Corsini

Jacques Courtois
Cavalry Battle, 1650s
canvas, oil paint ? x ? cm
Rome, Musei Vaticani, inv./ MV_40442_0_0

Jan Asselijn
Landscape with a battle scene, daed 1635
canvas, oil paint 66 x 88 cm
lower left : Jan Asslein 1635
Dorotheum (Vienna (city)) 2011-06-16, nr. 177

Wouwerman and his followers appear to have made no impression whatsoever on the Italians.11 Both Jacob (1644/5-1675) and Jan Huchtenburg (1647-1722) were in Rome in the 1660s, 12 as were two little-known painters, Cornelis Verhuyck (Verbuyk?) (1647-after 1718) [10-11]13 and Pieter Verhoek (1633-1702), both of whom are expressly said to have painted in the style of Bourguignon, together with the two brothers, Jan and Jacob van Bunnink (died 1725), who travelled all over Italy painting mostly landscapes.14 The Fleming, Hendrik Frans van Lint (1684-1763), who had modelled himself on Wouwerman in his home country, was content with painting vedute in the Flemish style while in Italy [12-13].15

Cornelis Verhuyck (II)
Fighting cavaliers near a convoy, dated 1719
paper, black ink, brown ink, brown wash, black chalk, brush 207 x 286 mm
lower right : {.....]huyck 1719
Paris, Musée du Louvre, inv./ 22416, Recto

Cornelis Verhuyck (II)
Cavalry Battle
canvas, oil paint ? x ? cm
Private collection

Hendrik Frans van Lint
View of the papal countryhouse in Castel Gandolfo and the Lago di Nemi, dated 1712
canvas, oil paint 33.5 x 41.5 cm
lower left : HF. van Lint.F. / Aº.1712
Sotheby's (Milan) 2005-06-01, nr. 192

Hendrik Frans van Lint
View of the coast near Rome, dated 1712
canvas, oil paint 33.5 x 41.5 cm
lower right : HF van Lint / 1712
Sotheby's (Milan) 2005-06-01, nr. 192

The Dutch still-life painters suffered in general from the competition they faced from their Fleming counterparts. Moreover, this special genre found greater favour in the provinces than in Rome. The famous Roman flower painter, Mario Nuzzi (1603-1673) [14],16 and the little known Giovanni Paolo Castelli, ‘il Spadino’ (1659-c. 1730) [15] certainly relied on Flemish models, most prominent among whom was Jan Brueghel I (1568-1625).17 We will therefore content ourselves here with a short list of the Dutch still-life painters who went to Rome:18 Jacob Vosmaer (c. 1574-1641), 19 Floris van Dijck (c. 1575-1651),20 Otto Marseus van Schrieck (c. 1619/20- 1678) [16],21 Willem van Aelst (1627-1682),22 Abraham Begeyn (1637-1697),23 Matthias Withoos (c. 1627-1703) [17],24 Carel de Vogelaer (1653-1695),25 Christoffel Puytlinck (1640-1679/80) [18],26 Jacob Campo Weyerman (1677-1747) 27 and Pieter van der Hulst IV (1651-1727).28 The latter derived the inspiration for his flower paintings from Mario Nuzzi, while Carel de Vogelaer took his adaptation a step further and painted accessory objects for Carlo Maratti. 29 We will meet some of these painters again in Naples and Florence.

Mario Nuzzi
Self-portrait of Mario Nuzzi (1603-1673) with a servant, c. 1650
canvas, oil paint 136 x 208.5 cm
Florence, Galleria degli Uffizi, inv./ 2114

Giovanni Paolo Castelli
Fruit still life
canvas, oil paint 39 x 46.5 cm
Bloomsbury Auctions (Rome) 2009-05-19 - 2009-05-28, nr. 132

Otto Marseus van Schrieck
Forest floor still life with mushrooms, a snake and butterflies, dated 10 August 1655
canvas, oil paint 38 x 47.8 cm
lower left : OTTO MARSEVS/ DE SCHRIECK Fecÿt in Roma/ 1655 Ly 10 aug...
Florence, Galleria degli Uffizi, inv./ 5268 ( 1890)

Matthias Withoos
Vanitas still life in a landscape, dated 1658
canvas, oil paint 101 x 87 cm
Amersfoort, Museum Flehite, inv./ 2000-157

Christoffel Puytlinck
Dead roosters, dated 1671
canvas, oil paint 76 x 57 cm
Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, inv./ A 1452


1 [Leeuwen/Sman 2019] Van Mander/Miedema 1994-1999, vol. 1, p. 408-409.

2 [Leeuwen/Sman 2019] On Abraham Willaerts’s background: Bok in Luijten et al. 1993-1994, p. 325-326. Only Von Wurzbach (Von Wurzbach 1906-1911, vol. 2, p. 883) mentions a Roman sojourn of Abraham Willaerts, but there is no evidence to document his presence in Italy between 1659 and 1661. Furthermore, the iconography of a small Group portrait, signed and dated 1660 (RKDimages 260037), does not seem compatible with a sojourn in Italy.

3 [Leeuwen/Sman 2019] Zeeman became familiar with the Mediterranean and the coast of North Africa during his journey with the Dutch fleet under command of Michiel de Ruyter in 1661-1663 (Lammertse 1993). His earlier southern coast views are probably not based on study on the spot. The same goes for his well-known Battle of Leghorn in the Rijksmuseum (RKDimages 9464).

4 [Leeuwen/Sman 2019] The Beerstraatens never went to the Mediterranean, see above.

5 [Leeuwen/Sman 2019] According to Houbraken (Houbraken 1718-1721, vol. 3, p. 291), Verschuier travelled to Rome in the company of Johannes van der Meer (1630-1695/97). Their journey to the South took place around 1653-1654 (Sadee et al. 1994-1995, p. 303-304; Bok 1998, p. 70). On 3 December 1652, at least four months before his departure, Verschuier made up a will, but this may have been due to the circumstance that he was not in good health (‘ziekelijk’) at that moment.

6 [Gerson 1942/1983] See Gerson 1942/1983, p. 527-528. [Leeuwen/Sman 2019] On Italianate seaport views and harbour scenes by Dutch 17th -century painters: Skeeles-Schloss 1982; Roelofs 2008. Skeeles-Schloss stresses the fanciful character of many Italianate harbor scenes. They often combine fact and fantasy and therefore evoke the ambiance, rather than faithfully recreate, the appearance of Italian ports.

7 [Leeuwen/Sman 2019] On Manglard: Michel 1981; Maddalo 1982.

8 [Leeuwen/Sman 2019] For an overview of Italian battle-scene paintings from its inception in the early 17th century until the end of the 18th century: Sestieri 1999.

9 [Gerson 1942/1983] Salvignini 1937, p. 38-39. Strada illustrata, no. 42. [Leeuwen/Sman 2019] Baldinucci 1845-1847/1974-1975, vol. 5, p. 208. Baldinucci also describes Courtois as a friend of Asselijn in the biography of Astolfo Petrazzi (Ibid., vol. 6, p. 331). No further documentation on Asselijn’s stay in Florence has come down to us. On the relationship between Courtois and Monsu Montagna (Rinaldo della Montagna), see also § 3.4, note 22. Monsu Montagna worked in Bergamo, Bologna, Florence, Rome and Venice. For the works he painted for Don Lorenzo de’ Medici in Florence, presumably as early as 1636, see Borea 1977, p. 142-143.

10 [Leeuwen/Sman 2019] Steland-Stief 1971, p. 20-34.

11 [Gerson 1942/1983] In 1652/3 a certain Pietro Verbeche lived in Rome (Hoogewerff 1938B, p. 87-88). As he had stated to be 21 years old, it is unlikely that he is identical to the horse painter Pieter Verbeeck (1610/5-1652/4).

12 [Leeuwen/Sman 2019] The information that Jan visited Rome in 1667, where he would have met his brother, is based on Weyerman (Weyerman 1729-1769, vol.4, p. 95-96). Houbraken however tells, that he never went further than Paris, where he became a pupil and collaborator of Adam Frans van der Meulen and also of Charles Lebrun (Houbraken 1717-1721, vol. 3, p. 99, 251; Van Thiel-Stroman 2006, p. 208). He therefore never seems to have joined his brother Jacob in Rome. Later in his career Jan Huchtenburg was in the service of the Prince Eugenio of Savoy in Vienna, where he painted some of the battle pieces that are now in the Galleria Sabauda in Turin (Gerson/Van Leeuwen et al. 2017-2018, § 7.6) . Sestieri 1999, p. 556, incorrectly considers these works a proof of a sojourn in Italy. For the paintings in Turin: Meijer/Sluiter/Squellati Brizio 2011, p. 298-305.

13 [Leeuwen/Sman 2019] On Verhuyck: Benini 2016.

14 [Leeuwen/Sman 2019] According to Houbraken it was Jacob who was a skilled painter of cavalry battles (Houbraken 1718-1721, vol. 3, p. 341).

15 [Leeuwen/Sman 2019] On van Lint: Busiri Vici 1987, esp. p. 21-269.

16 [Leeuwen/Sman 2019] On Nuzzi: Solinas 2010.

17 [Gerson 1942/1983] Also Pietro Paolo Bonzi (1573-1636) and Domenico Bettini (1644-1705) have nothing to do with Dutch art. On Felice Boselli, see below [§ 3.5].[Leeuwen/Sman 2010] Spadino was the neighbour of Jan Brueghel I’s grandson Abraham Brueghel (1631-1697) in Rome between 1671 and 1674 (Salerno 1984, p. 265-269). On Italian still-life painting, see also: Zeri et al. 1989.

18 [Leeuwen/Sman 2019] On foreign still-life painters in Rome: Bocchi/Bocchi 2004.

19 [Leeuwen/Sman 2019] Houbraken 1718-1721, vol. 1, p. 118, is the only source refering to Vosmaer’s trip to Italy that must have taken place around 1607. Shortly after his return to Delft, on 16 March 1608, he married Anna Jans (Bredius 1915-1921, vol. 7, p. 270). According to Montias, only members of relatively wealthy families from the city of Delft made a journey to Italy, the young Jacob Vosmaer among them (Montias 1982, p. 166-167).

20 [Leeuwen/Sman 2019] Van Dyck worked in the studio of Giuseppe Cesari before returning to Haarlem around 1601 or 1602. He is often believed to be Karel van Mander’s principal source of information on Caravaggio (Van der Sman 2016B, p. 14).

21 [Leeuwen/Sman 2019] Steensma 1999, p. 14; Seelig 2017-2018, p. 23.

22 [Leeuwen/Sman 2019] Paul 2012, p. 17.

23 [Leeuwen/Sman 2019] Begheyn did not travel in the late 1650s, as has been previously assumed. Between 1659 and 1666 he and his wife Margriet had six children baptized in the Hooglandsche Kerk in Leiden (Jager 2016, p. 278, Biography 4) and he was a member of the guild until 1667. He probably neither travelled between 1667 and 1672, as three children were baptized in the Reformed Nieuwezijds Kapel in Amsterdam: Geertruijd (baptized 9 December 1668), Isaac (baptized 2 March 1670) and Abraham (baptized 25 February 1671) (City Archive online, DTB 55, p. 133, 171 and 199).

24 [Leeuwen/Sman 2019] Bocchi/Bocchi 2004, p. 49-65. For his Roman addresses in 1651 and 1652: Hoogewerff 1942, p. 39, 126 .

25 [Leeuwen/Sman 2019] Primarosa 2012.

26 [Leeuwen/Sman 2019] Puytlinck supposedly stayed in Rome between 1667 and 1669. He joined the Bent and was nicknamed ‘Trechter’ (Hoogewerff 1952, p. 142). In August 1667, he witnessed in a trial concerning the death of an English artist who was stabbed in the Via del Babuino (Bertolotti 1880, p. 168-169). No works by Puytlinck have yet been traced in Italian public collections.

27 [Leeuwen/Sman 2019] Weyerman never went to Italy. See the extensive biography on the Weyerman website.

28 [Leeuwen/Sman 2019] On van der Hulst’s activity in Denmark in the 1690s: Gerson/Van Leeuwen/Roding et al. 2015, § 3.14 .

29 [Leeuwen/Sman 2019] On de Vogelaer’s collaboration with Carlo Maratti, Luigi Garzi and Giovanni Battista Gaulli: Primarosa 2012, p. 68-85.

Cookies disclaimer

Our site saves small pieces of text information (cookies) on your device in order to deliver better content and for statistical purposes. You can disable the usage of cookies by changing the settings of your browser. By browsing our website without changing the browser settings you grant us permission to store that information on your device.
I agree