1400-1600

Medieval/Early Netherlandish Period

Picture
Picture

Most iconic paintings:


Featured: Arnolfini Portrait (1434, National Gallery, London), Portrait of a Man (1433, National Gallery, London).

Jan van Eyck

1390-1441

Van Eyck was active in the same era as Bosch, but he was much more influenced by the encroaching Renaissance values. This can be seen in his subject matter, as he portrayed both religious and secular paintings. However, unlike Bosch, his style was much more typical of the Renaissance, as even in his time, he became reputable for his attention to anatomical detail and painterly realism.

Where can I find this artist in Amsterdam?

Unfortunately, there are no paintings by Van Eyck on permanent display in Amsterdam. However, his works can be found scattered throughout Europe. For instance, The Arnolfini Portrait is housed in the National Gallery in London.

Where can I find this artist in Amsterdam?
Picture
Picture

Most iconic paintings:


Featured: The Garden of Earthly Delights (1490–1510, Museo del Prado, Madrid), Temptation of St. Antony (1500-25, Prado Museum, Madrid).

Hieronymus Bosch

1450-1516

Bosch is one of the most famous of the Early Netherlandish artists- a subset of the Medieval Gothic Period. Typical of this era, Bosch's paintings are largely religious in nature, depicting fantastical, often morbid Biblical imagery. As he was active just before the Renaissance artistic values of secular subjects and realism, these Biblical scenes are painted using highly pigmented, bright colours: more stylized than realistic.

Where can I find this artist in Amsterdam?

If you're looking for Classical Art: that is, art that was created before the rise of Impressionism and Modernism in the late 19th century, the Rijksmuseum is the place to go. They have a section dedicated to Medieval and Renaissance art, where you can trace the development of the Christian art of the Medieval period to the more secular paintings of the Renaissance as Humanism started to the influence the Netherlands. 2016 marks the 500th anniversary of his death. There will be a series of events throughout the whole year to celebrate the life of this ingenious painter.

Where can I find this artist in Amsterdam?

1520-1580

Renaissance

Picture
Picture

Most iconic paintings:


Featured: A Meat Stall with the Holy Family Giving Alms (North Carolina Museum of Art, North Carolina), The Fat Kitchen (1507, National Gallery of Denmark), Apostles Peter and John (1575, The Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg).

Pieter Aertsen

1508-1575

Aertsen is known for his Mannerist paintings: a subset of the Renaissance that emphasised dramatic representation and idealised figures over realism. He combined this visual style with Genre painting: which refers to the artistic portrayal of peasantry involved in everyday activities. His most famous paintings, such as The Fat Kitchen is that of dramatic and often comical scenes taking place in the market-place.

Where can I find this artist in Amsterdam?

Peter Aertsen's paintings of comical, dynamic situations are definitely worth seeing, and you can find them at the Rijksmuseum. Make sure to see The Egg Dance: one of most famous paintings, as well as Adoration of the Magi, a more serious illustration of the birth of Christ.

Where can I find this artist in Amsterdam?
Picture
Picture

Most iconic paintings:


Featured: The Peasant Wedding (1567,Kunsthistorisches Museum,Vienna), Landscape with the Fall of Icarus (1560, Royal Museums of Fine Arts, Belgium).

Peter Bruegel the Elder

1525- 1569

Bruegel the Elder was a reputable Renaissance landscape painter, who painted both mythical and everyday scenes, but largely the latter. Specifically, he's known for his works depicting rural, peasant life, so much so that he was termed 'Peasant-Bruegel' during his lifetime. He was also famous for his Classical and Biblical paintings, especially Landscape with the Fall of Icarus.

Where can I find this artist in Amsterdam?

Bruegel is yet another artist who's prolific status means that many of his surviving paintings have been aquired by galleries across Europe. Although you won't find his work on permanent display in Amsterdam, if you happen to visit Belgium, make sure to drop by the Royal Museums of Arts in Brussels to see his infamous Fall of Icarus painting.

Where can I find this artist in Amsterdam?

1615–1702

Dutch Golden Age

Picture
Picture

Most iconic paintings:


Featured: Laughing Cavalier (1624, currently in the Wallace Collection, London), Wedding Portrait of Isaac Massa and Beatrix van der Laen (1622).

Frans Hals

1582-1666

Frans Hals was a Golden Age painter who even during his lifetime, was an established portrait artist, drawing inspiration from a variety of social subjects: from gentry to peasant-folk. His self-portraits have also become quite iconic, especially a series of paintings featuring himself leaning on the back of a chair.

Where can I find this artist in Amsterdam?

Yet another Master of the Golden Age, many of Hals' portraits sit alongside the works of Vermeer and Rembrandt in the Gallery of Honour at the Rijksmuseum.

Where can I find this artist in Amsterdam?
Picture
Picture

Most iconic paintings:


Featured: The Night Watch (1642, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam), Self-portrait (1628, Rijskmuseum, Amsterdam).

Rembrandt van Rijn

1606-1669

Much like Vermeer, Rembrandt is another artistic giant of the Golden Age who is famously known for developing painting techniques such as chiascuro: the use of naturalistic lighting using a strong contrast of light and dark. An incredibly sensitive and versatile artist, he tackled both portraiture and large-scale canvas paintings (most famously The Night Watch, on permanent loan at the Rijksmuseum) with effortless dramatic emotion.

Where can I find this artist in Amsterdam?

You can find some of Rembrandt's masterworks in the Rijskmuseum Gallery of Honour, including The Nights Watch and his Self-Portrait of 1628. Additionally, the Portrait Gallery of the Golden Age exhibit at the Hermitage Museum in Amsterdam features more of Rembrandt's lesser known (but no less impressive) group portraits. However, for a true taste of the opulence of the Golden Age, make sure to visit the Amsterdam Royal Palace, built during Rembrandt's time and features his painting in their impressive collection. Lastly, Rembrandt's legacy means that his house in Amsterdam has also been transformed into a museum, The Rembrandthuis, showcasing his life and work.

Where can I find this artist in Amsterdam?
Picture
Picture

Most iconic paintings:


Featured: An Allegory of the Vanities of Human Life (1640, National Gallery in London).

Pieter van Steenwyck

1615-1654

Steenwyck was a Golden Age painter of vanitas artworks, objects meant to remind one of death, and of the spiritual emptiness of material possessions. For instance, a skull is often juxtaposed next to symbols of decadence: exotic foods, jewelry etc.

Where can I find this artist in Amsterdam?

Vanitas is a unique Dutch art genre that expressed the emptiness of the physical world, and Steenwyck's Allegory of the Vanities of Human Life is arguably the most famous example. Sadly, this painting is no longer in the Netherlands, but rather it is being housed at the National Gallery in London.

Where can I find this artist in Amsterdam?
Picture
Picture

Most iconic paintings:


Featured: Girl with a Pearl Earring (1665, Mauritshuis, The Hague, Netherlands), Woman in Blue reading a letter (1663-4, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam), The Milkmaid (1658, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam).

Johannes Vermeer

1632-1675

One of the most famous painters of the period who produced various iconic pieces of realistic portraiture, including Girl with the Pearl Earring. He was especially known for his use of colours: whereas most artists would use a toned-down, earthy palette of browns and beiges, Vermeer would contrast these with large swathes of luminous blue. A famous example is The Milkmaid, which is on permanent loan to the Rijsmuseum in Amsterdam.

Where can I find this artist in Amsterdam?

The Dutch Golden Age produced the most iconic Netherlandish painters, and you can see some of their most well-known works at the Rijksmuseum. Luckily, some of Vermeer's most inspired pieces are on permanent exhibition there, such as The Milkmaid, considered to be a genius of light, space and colour.

Where can I find this artist in Amsterdam?

Late 19th/early 20th century

Impressionism

Picture
Picture

Most iconic paintings:


Featured: The Starry Night (1889, Museum of Modern Art, New York), Bedroom in Arles (1888, Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam), Still Life: Vase with Sunflowers (1888, Neue Pinakothek Museum, Munich).

Vincent Van Gogh

1853-1890

Van Gogh, one of the most recognisable artists of all time, developed his trademark Impressionist style of using vibrant colours in expressive, painterly brushstrokes. Despite being Dutch, he spent most of his time abroad, painting scenes of the French countryside: it is there that he painted most of his iconic pieces, such as Starry Night, or Sunflowers.

Where can I find this artist in Amsterdam?

Van Gogh, one of the most iconic painters of all time, has his own museum. At the Van Gogh Museum, not only can you expect to find some of his most iconic works, such as The Bedroom in Arles and The Potato Eaters, but you can also discover more about his life, and see the artworks of his contemporaries. You can also find more of his work at the Rijksmuseum, which is located (for your convenience!) in same area called the Museumplein, along with the Stedelijk Museum.

Where can I find this artist in Amsterdam?
Picture
Picture

Most iconic paintings:


Featured: The Dam (1865, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam), Reclining Woman (1888, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam)

George Hendrik Breitner

1857-1923

By the late 19th century, the strict realism of the Renaissance had given way to the sensitive, more experimental Impressionistic paintings. Breitner was a leading figure of this genre in Amsterdam: he embodied the anti-Renaissance values of Impressionism, painting the unremarkable and everyday in a realistic style, with visible brush-strokes.

Where can I find this artist in Amsterdam?

Being considered one of the first 'modern' Dutch artists, Breitner's figure portraits and city scenes are on permanent exhbition at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam's largest modern art gallery.

Where can I find this artist in Amsterdam?

1917-1930

De Stijl/Neo-Plasticism

Picture
Picture

Most iconic paintings:


Featured: Tableau I (Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany), Broadway Boogie-Woogie (1942-43, Museum of Modern Art in New York), Composition with Large Red Plane, Yellow, Black, Gray and Blue (1921, Philadelphia Museum of Art).

Piet Mondrian, or Mondriaan

1872-1944

During the 1920s, there was a movement in European avant-garde circles to move towards 'complete abstraction': when the painting has no visual resemblance to external reality. Mondrian, one of the leading painters of the Dutch movement 'De Stijl', or Neo-plasticism, reduced the elements on the canvas into basic, two dimensional cuboids and primary colours. These paintings, with blocks of primary colours jumping out from the white canvas, were inspired by the energy and vitality of metropolitan cities, specifically Paris and New York.

Where can I find this artist in Amsterdam?

If you're interested in Mondrian, or De Stijl as a whole, you can find his works in the Stedelijk Museum as part of an exhibition on De Stijl, which looks at how this movement impacted not only painting, but architecture and design.

Where can I find this artist in Amsterdam?

1943-1965

Abstract Expressionism

Picture
Picture

Most iconic paintings:


Featured: Woman I (1959-52, Modern Museum of Art in New York), Woman V (National Gallery of Australia, Canberra).

Willem de Kooning

1904-1997

In the mid-20th century, Dutch expat de Kooning was part of the American Abstract Expressionist boom, along with Jackson Pollock. Inspired by Picasso, his most iconic series of paintings (all entitled Woman) deconstructed the female body to its basic geometric form, almost in a child-like manner. This was done largely to subvert the way in which the women's bodies were often sexualised and fetishized in 'traditional' art.

Where can I find this artist in Amsterdam?

You can see de Kooning's early sketches, as well as his more abstract takes on landscape and human figures in the Stedelijk Museum.

Where can I find this artist in Amsterdam?

Mid-Twentieth Century Avant-Garde

COBRA

Picture
Picture

Most iconic paintings:


Featured: Questioning Children (1949, Tate Modern, London), Frog with Umbrella (2001, The Hague).

Karel Appel

1921-2006

Appel was part of a mid-20th century Dutch movement entitled COBRA an experimental art movement attempting to recreate a sense of childhood, both through the subject and its style. Often, his paintings and sculpture would take inspiration from children's fairy tales and folklore, such as the installation of Frog with Umbrella in the Hague.

Where can I find this artist in Amsterdam?

Along with the Golden Age, COBRA is an art movement that is identified as being uniquely Netherlandish and deservingly, there is an entire museum dedicated to it. Located just outside of Amsterdam in Amstelveen, it is full of artists from this movement as well as other, related contemporary artists. Alternatively, you can find Appel along with other iconic multi-media, contemporary artists at the Reflex Gallery, conveniently located just opposite the Rijksmuseum.

Where can I find this artist in Amsterdam?

1950-present

Photography

Picture
Picture

Most iconic paintings:


Featured: Grief (Photographic series, 2007, Flatland Gallery and Reflex Gallery).

Erwin Olaf

1959-present

Erwin Olaf is a world-reknowned photographer, and is part of a continuing tradition of the well-established photography scene in Amsterdam. As with most contemporary artists working with digital or media, he is known for his commercial, as well as his artistic works, becoming well-known for addressing social taboos.

Where can I find this artist in Amsterdam?

Erwin Olaf's work is shown worldwide, but there are quite a few places where you can find his work in Amsterdam- where he's currently based. For instance, the Flatland Gallery houses many of his projects, including the well-received Grief and Royal Blood. Additional works are also on show at the Reflex Gallery (near the Rijksmuseum!).

Where can I find this artist in Amsterdam?