Meindert Hobbema

Dates1638 - 1709
BornAmsterdam, The Netherlands
DiedAmsterdam, The Netherlands

Active in Amsterdam, landscape painter Meindert Hobbema met Jacob van Ruisdael sometime before 1659 and became his leading pupil and friend. When Hobbema married the kitchen maid of an Amsterdam official in 1668, Ruisdael was a witness. Early on, Hobbema imitated Ruisdael's style, but by 1663 he had found his own. His sunlit woodland scenes, opened up by roads and glistening ponds, and his views of water mills are much less dramatic and brooding than Ruisdael's. An appealing blond tonality often prevails because Hobbema permeated his landscapes with a sparkling daylight, seen in luminous skies of intense white and blue.

It was common for seventeenth-century Dutch painters to hold down held moneymaking jobs apart from their true profession. After his new wife's influence won Hobbema a job as a wine gauger, painting seems to have become a part-time occupation. He checked the weights and measures of imported wines for more than forty years and had little success as a painter; the couple were buried as paupers. Eighteenth- and nineteenth-century English artists and collectors highly prized Hobbema's work, however, and his influence is evident in the art of Thomas Gainsborough.