Journeys and places

Etchings by Jan van de Velde II

This intimate one-room exhibition demonstrates the importance of the artist Jan van de Velde II (1593–1641) in the context of the Dutch Baroque landscape tradition. Jan van de Velde II is considered one of the most noteworthy Dutch etchers of the first part of the seventeenth century.

Art Exhibition previously on at Ian Potter Museum of Art in Melbourne precinct, Victoria, Australia.
From Saturday 05 September 2009 to Sunday 17 January 2010

An antique gate 1616 image Evening: travellers on a road near an inn 1616 image Winter landscape with a square tower used as an inn 1616 image

Published by Ian Potter Museum of Art on Wednesday 19 August 2009.
Contact the publisher.

The exhibition includes over fifty prints that are held in the John Orde Poynton Collection at the University of Melbourne’s Baillieu Library, the most comprehensive collection of van de Velde’s series of landscape prints in any Australian public collection.

Journeys and places will provide a rare opportunity for contemporary audiences to consider the technical innovations of this body of work as well as understanding the symbolic meaning of the landscape in Dutch art of the period.

The 17th century Golden Age of Dutch landscape painting developed as a result of printmakers from Haarlem experimenting with new techniques and with new subject matter.

Kathleen Kiernan, guest curator for this exhibition at the Ian Potter Museum of Art, explains, “Jan van de Velde’s landscape prints in this exhibition bring an understanding of the art historical codes needed for interpretation of the Golden Age of seventeenth-century Dutch landscape."

“Today’s viewer may perceive Jan van de Velde II’s prints as rather modest. On the contrary, they are highly significant works of art where van de Velde’s innovations in printmaking techniques, and his contribution to new ways of portraying the landscape, changed the representation and perception of the visible world. “

The last thirty years has seen much debate over Dutch landscapes being interpreted as containing symbolism of morality, through which the notion of the traveller is intended to instruct and modify the viewer’s behaviour. Jan van de Velde II’s images have a particular ambiguity which enables us to engage with this discussion. Some of
the etchings in the exhibition have obvious allegorical meaning, yet his leisurely scenes of daily life in the local countryside can be also interpreted as being loaded with symbolism.

Jan van de Velde II’s prints serve as a bridge to analyse seventeenth century Dutch landscape, encouraging a discourse between historical and current interpretations of the genre.

Kathleen Kiernan is currently writing her PhD thesis on the circulation of 17th century Dutch landscape prints in London and their influence on 18th century British landscape art. In 2007 she completed her Master of Art Curatorship (Melbourne) and in the same year was the Harold Wright Scholar at the British Museum. Kathleen is the Executive Officer of the History Council of Victoria.