The biography of Adriaen van de Velde (1636 - 1672)

Adrian van de Velde (1636 – 1672) was a Dutch painter, draftsman and etcher who specialized in landscapes and animals.

Van de Velde was born on November 30, 1636, at Amsterdam. He died on January 21, 1672, at Amsterdam.

Adriaen van de Velde was the son of a well-known marine painter, Willem van de Velde the Elder, who was probably his first teacher, and brother of William van de Velde, the Younger, the marine painter.

Adriaen first studied with his father, then trained with a landscapist in Haarlem. He was trained in the studio of Jan Wynants, the landscape painter, where he made the acquaintance of Philip Wouwerman. Van de Velde was soon employed by his master to introduce figures into his landscape compositions since he made an exceptionally rapid progress. He rendered a similar service to Hobbema, Ruysdael, Verboom and other contemporary artists.

His favorite subjects are scenes of open pasture land with sheep, cattle and goats. Adriaen painted his paintings with admirable dexterity, with much precision of touch and truth of draughtsmanship and with clear silvery coloring.

Adriaen produced prints, paintings and drawings, often done in a small scale and depicting landscapes with views of the ocean and figures. He painted a few small but excellent winter scenes with skaters, and several religious subjects, such as the Descent from the Cross, for the Roman Catholic Church in Amsterdam. He produced his first known works, six etchings, in 1653.

Like Paulus Potter, van de Velde preferred cattle scenes. His regular system of drawing before painting often included sketching cattle in the fields and figures from life in the studio. The increased prominence he gave to figures and animals required this more observational method.

In addition to his paintings, of which nearly two hundred have been catalogued, he executed about twenty etchings, several of which appear from their dates to have been done in his fourteenth year. They are simple but pleasing in tonality and are distinguished by great directness of method and by delicacy and certainty of touch.