When Northerners bought paintings of Rome, they wanted an "interpretation," not a historically accurate reconstruction of the city. After spending at least three years in Italy, Amsterdam-based Johannes Lingelbach developed an Italianategenre of painting that was imitated by Dutch artists who never set foot on the peninsula. Lingelbach was born in Germany, but his family moved to Amsterdam by the time he was twelve years old and he probably received his artistic training there. He also may have visited France, and he was certainly in Rome from 1647 to 1650. After returning to Amsterdam by 1653, Lingelbach never left.
Lingelbach was best known for large scenes of crowded, busy piazzas and Italian ports populated by Turks, merchants, gamblers, and peddlers. The settings evoke a feeling of space and distance, as if they were being remembered. Lingelbach also painted bambocciate, small scenes of Italian street life. In common seventeenth-century Flemish and Dutch practice, he was called on to enliven other artists' landscapes by painting in the staffage, the figures and animals that animate the scene. Meindert Hobbema regularly hired Lingelbach to populate his landscapes.