The reinvention of Dutch art was crucial to the progress of the Netherlandish society during the 17th Century. This era can be referred to as "The Golden Age" because during this time, art, science, and trade were among the most eminent areas of Dutch society in the world. The painting Child with Goat and Sheep began as a single effort by Jacob Gerritzs Cuyp. However, his son Aelbert Cuyp finished the piece and later, due to his father's influence, became one of the most renowned Dutch painters of the Golden Age. I will argue that Jacob Gerritzs Cuyp was the most prominent influence in the artistic works of his son, Aelbert Cuyp, and thus contributed greatly to his rise to fame and success as a painter.
Research books and databases provide little to no information on the painting "Child with Goat and Sheep," which was started in 1630 and finished by Aelbert in 1640. However, I have provided another example of the teamwork of Jacob Gerritsz Cuyp and Aelbert Cuyp.
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Jacob's style of portraiture balances magnificently with the bovine/pastoral landscape painting techniques that Aelbert possessed.
Sadly, there are also small amounts of information for the life and artistic works of Jacob Cuyp. His son became a well-known painter for his works of pastoral landscapes and naturalistic portraits while he was a child portraitist. The two family members worked on several paintings together. The Dordrechts Museum held an exhibition in 2002 for what they call "the most influential painter in Dordrecht in the 17th century, Jacob Gerritsz Cuyp (1594-1652). The exhibition features a number of paintings on which father and son worked together, including a rediscovered painting from Buenos Aires. Jacob was responsible for all of the portraits and Aelbert for the landscapes. There are also portraits by Jacob believed to have been completed by Aelbert Cuyp following the death of his father in 1652" (Codart). That source provides proof that this father/son team truly thrived off of the work of one another and completed many wondrous works of art together as one.
Jacob Gerritszoon Cuyp, 1594-c.1651, pupil of Abraham Bloemaert, was a portrait and landscape painter. Cuyp's portraits are soundly painted, sure in draftsmanship, and firm in modeling. Though they lack the vitality of a Hals or the insight into character of a Rembrandt, they are imbued with that honesty and integrity that allied to technical competence as characteristic of the best tradition of Dutch 17th-Century portraiture (Encyclopedia Britannica). "He often portrayed children in a landscape with sheep. The landscape in the background, the portraits of the children and the painted sheep and plants all lend his pieces an idyllic character. The elements may be set in scene but nevertheless form a natural entity. The artist's versatility comes to life through the combination of portraits, landscapes and still lifes in these works" (Codart).
Another thing that set him apart from his son was his last name. According to the Grove Dictionary of Art, "By 1617 Jacob Gerritsz. had adopted the surname Cuyp, and the rest of the family seems eventually to have followed this practice."(Cuyp [Cuijp; Kuyp]). There was no clear explanation as to why he decided to change his name.
"Born in Dordrecht, Aelbert Cuyp was probably first taught by his father, the painter Jacob Gerritsz Cuyp, known mainly for his portraits" (Encyclopedia of World Biography). "He first painted still lifes, interiors with figures, and animals but later specialized in the pastoral landscapes for which he is famous. They are characterized by breadth and simplicity of treatment, and richness of color and light. Many of his best works are in England"(The Columbia Encyclopedia). "Between 1640 and 1645, Aelbert painted skillful monochromatic dune and river landscapes with diagonal compositions, much in the manner of Jan van Goyen" (Encyclopedia of World Biography). To show the similarities of Aelbert Cuyp's work to Jan van Goyen, photos have been provided.
These nautical styles of painting by Aelbert Cuyp and Jan van Goyen are similar, yet slightly different in many ways. The structure of the sailboat scenes are similarly balanced in shape of the sailboats, movement of the sky and the moods of each painting are also similar. Cuyp's painting is brighter and more detailed in color than van Goyen's. The perspective points differ from each other as well. It is obvious that Aelbert Cuyp was influenced by others besides his father and the comparisons of these paintings proves that Jan van Goyen was an inspiration to Cuyp's artistic style. While this may be true, there was a more significant impact that took place from a father to his son.
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Another source provided similar information on the Aelbert: "Between 1639 and 1645, under the influence of other artists, Cuyp painted naturalistic, diagonal compositions that show a good sense of space and an almost monochromatic yellowish-gray color. His more individualistic style, most evident in his work from the period between 1650 and 1670, is considered his best. Cuyp's paintings are sunny and lively in atmosphere, profound in tonalities, simple in outline, well-balanced in composition, and notable for the large, rich foreground masses. Although his palette tends largely to yellow, pinkish red, warm browns, and olive green rather than blue and silver grey, he is considered a forerunner of Vermeer in his handling of light" (http://www.vangoghgaller y.com/artistbios/Aelbert_Cuyp.html). Around 1642, he seems to have made an extensive sketching tour throughout Holland, which may have brought him into contact with various Italianate landscape painters based in Utrecht, such as Jan Both. His style changed significantly at this time and his compositions became more expansive, infused with a warm golden morning or evening light (http://arts.jrank.org/pages/15008/Cuyp-family.html). Information from the Classic Encyclopedia states that, "Occasionally he painted portraits in the bust form familiar to his father." This proves again that he was influenced by his father's work.
Chapman noted that, "The 17th-century Dutch painter Aelbert Cuyp had a particular fondness for painting cows: rightly acclaimed for his landscapes, he regularly scattered the bovine creatures in the foreground of his pictures." "A prodigious number of pictures are ascribed to him, but his oeuvre poses many problems. He often signed his paintings but rarely dated them, and a satisfactory chronology has never been established. Although he had little influence outside Dordrecht, he had several imitators there, and some of the paintings formerly attributed to him are now given to Abraham van Calraet (1642-1722), who signed himself 'AC' (the same initials as Cuyp) (http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/cuyp/)."
In conclusion, "Child with Goat and Sheep" was not the only work of art that this father/son duo created together. As you can see, Aelbert Cuyp's style was very different than his father's and there is good reason to believe that that was the cause of his better-known works of art and fame. However, Aelbert's paintings were similar to other artists who also influenced him. Jacob preferred to create child portrait paintings while his son enjoyed bovine landscape paintings, which benefited their teamwork techniques. A painting combined with both of their styles such as "Child with Goat and Sheep" shows great diversity of the mind and allows the viewer to step into what life was like during The Golden Age of Dutch art history.