1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Everdingen, Allart van

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Everdingen, Allart van (1621—?1675), Dutch painter and engraver, the son of a government clerk at Alkmaar, was born, it is said, in 1621, and educated, if we believe an old tradition, under Roeland Savery at Utrecht. He wandered in 1645 to Haarlem, where he studied under Peter de Molyn, and finally settled about 1657 at Amsterdam, where he remained till his death. It would be difficult to find a greater contrast than that which is presented by the works of Savery and Everdingen. Savery inherited the gaudy style of the Breughels, which he carried into the 17th century; whilst Everdingen realized the large and effective system of coloured and powerfully shaded landscape which marks the precursors of Rembrandt. It is not easy on this account to believe that Savery was Everdingen’s master, while it is quite within the range of probability that he acquired the elements of landscape painting from de Molyn. Pieter de Molyn, by birth a Londoner, lived from 1624 till 1661 in Haarlem. He went periodically on visits to Norway, and his works, though scarce, exhibit a broad and sweeping mode of execution, differing but slightly from that transferred at the opening of the 17th century from Jan van Goyen to Solomon Ruysdael. His Etchings have nearly the breadth and effect of those of Everdingen. It is still an open question when de Molyn wielded influence on his clever disciple. Alkmaar, a busy trading place near the Texel, had little of the picturesque for an artist except polders and downs or waves and sky. Accordingly we find Allart at first a painter of coast scenery. But on one of his expeditions he is said to have been cast ashore in Norway, and during the repairs of his ship he visited the inland valleys, and thus gave a new course to his art. In early pieces he cleverly represents the sea in motion under varied, but mostly clouded, aspects of sky. Their general intonation is strong and brown, and effects are rendered in a powerful key, but the execution is much more uniform than that of Jacob Ruysdael. A dark scud lowering on a rolling sea near the walls of Flushing characterizes Everdingen’s "Mouth of the Schelde" in the Hermitage at St Petersburg. Storm is the marked feature of sea-pieces in the Staedel or Robartes collections; and a strand with wreckers at the foot of a cliff in the Munich Pinakothek may be a reminiscence of personal adventure in Norway. But the Norwegian coast was studied in calms as well as in gales; and a fine canvas at Munich shows fishermen on a still and sunny day taking herrings to a smoking hut at the foot of a Norwegian crag. The earliest of Everdingen’s sea-pieces bears the date of 1640. After 1645 we meet with nothing but representations of inland scenery, and particularly of Norwegian valleys, remarkable alike for wildness and a decisive depth of tone. The master’s favourite theme is a fall in a glen, with mournful fringes of pines interspersed with birch, and log-huts at the base of rocks and craggy slopes. The water tumbles over the foreground, so as to entitle the painter to the name of "inventor of cascades." It gives Everdingen his character as a precursor of Jacob Ruysdael in a certain form of landscape composition; but though very skilful in arrangement and clever in effects, Everdingen remains much more simple in execution; he is much less subtle in feeling or varied in touch than his great and incomparable countryman. Five of Everdingen’s cascades are in the museum of Copenhagen alone: of these, one is dated 1647, another 1649. In the Hermitage at St Petersburg is a fine example of 1647; another in the Pinakothek at Munich was finished in 1656. English public galleries ignore Everdingen; but one of his best-known masterpieces is the Norwegian glen belonging to Lord Listowel. Of his etchings and drawings there are much larger and more numerous specimens in England than elsewhere. Being a collector as well as an engraver and painter, he brought together a large number of works of all kinds and masters; and the sale of these by his heirs at Amsterdam on the 11th of March 1676 gives an approximate clue to the date of the painter’s death.

His two brothers, Jan and Caesar, were both painters. CAESAR VAN EVERDINGEN (1606—1679), mainly known as a portrait painter, enjoyed some vogue during his life, and many of his pictures are to be seen in the museums and private houses of Holland. They show a certain cleverness, but are far from entitling him to rank as a master.