Some Dutch painters of the seventeenth century combined a native love for naturalistic landscapes with an appreciation for the topography and atmosphere of the Italian countryside. Many of them traveled south of the Alps, and the resulting Italianate paintings include hills, bright sunlight, blue skies, and classical ruins—a welcome contrast to the flat land and cloudy skies of Holland.
Jan Baptist Weenix specialized in such views, drawing upon a rich portfolio of sketches to compose Italianate landscapes both during his stay in Rome (1643–47) and after his return to Holland. For example, the buxom woman in a straw hat, her baby, and the dog near them are stock figures that appear in several paintings by the artist. This one is signed at the top left "Gio[vanni] Batt[ist]a Weenix," the Italian version of his name, in the manner he preferred to use after he returned from Italy.
Artist Jan Baptist Weenix, Dutch, 1621-1659
Title
  • Italian Peasants among Ruins
Date ca. between 1649 and 1650
Medium oil on canvas
Dimensions Unframed: 26 1/4 × 31 1/2 inches (66.7 × 80 cm)
Framed: 34 5/8 × 39 1/2 × 2 inches (87.9 × 100.3 × 5.1 cm)
Credit Line Gift of Mrs. John A. Bryant in memory of her husband
Accession Number 41.57
Department European Painting
On View Dutch Golden Age S380, Level 3 (see map)
Signed Signed, upper left: Gio: Batta: Weenix
before 1791, Johann Christoph Werther (Amsterdam, Netherlands);
April 25-26, 1792, (van der Schley . . . de Bosch, Amsterdam, Netherlands) auction J.C. Werther, lot 38 [as Ruth and Boas];
Mrs. John A. Bryant;
1941-present, gift to the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
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