Aert van der Neer

Dates1603/1604 - 1677
BornAmsterdam?, The Netherlands
DiedAmsterdam?, The Netherlands

A master at representing light, Aert van der Neer painted moonlit river views that embody the principles of Dutch landscape painting in the 1600s. Those principles included isolated figures on meandering paths that cut through a wooded forest, and cloud-filled skies. Van der Neer used a restricted palette of earthy colors and, like most artists during this period, painted indoors. Although he did not receive much attention in his own time, modern scholars praise his ability to create a sense of space and atmosphere.

Van der Neer first worked as a steward and then became a painter, possibly as a result of contact with his wife's brothers, both of whom were painters. His first known painting, which dates to 1632, shares stylistic similarities with those of his brother-in-laws. Later in his life, between 1659-1662, Van der Neer and his son were the keepers of a tavern. After then declaring bankruptcy, his property--including his paintings--were appraised at little value. He continued to paint, residing in a state of extreme poverty, until his death fifteen years later.