The most celebrated member of a family of Dutch painters from Haarlem, where he worked virtually all his life. He became a member of the painters guild in 1640 and is said by a contemporary source to have been a pupil of Frans Hals. The only thing he has in common with Hals, however, is his nimble brushwork, for he specialized in landscapes of hilly country with horses - cavalry skirmishes,
travellers halting outside an inn, and so on. In this genre he was immensely prolific and also immensely successful.
He had many imitators, including his brother Peter (1623-1682), and his great popularity continued throughout the 18th century. Subsequently he has perhaps been underrated, for although his work generally follows a successful formula, he maintained a high quality; his draughtsmanship is elegant, his composition sure, his colouring delicate, and his touch lively.
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