Barend Cornelis Koekkoek Netherlands

10-11-1803 Middelburg, NED - 4-5-1862 Cleves, GER

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Koekkoek, Barend Cornelis

Barend Cornelis Koekkoek grew up in an artistic environment. His father Johannes Hermanus Koekkoek (1778–1851) was a renowned marine painter, from whom he received his earliest tuition. His brothers Hermanus Koekkoek (1815–1882) and Marinus Adrianus Koekkoek (1807–1868) were both successful artists, the first as a painter of marine subjects and river scenes, the second as a landscapist. In 1817 he enrolled at the Drawing Academy of Middelburg, where he studied under Abraham Krayestein. On moving to Amsterdam in 1822, he studied for four years at the Koninklijke Academie van Beeldende Kunsten.

He concentrated on extensive wooded landscapes in summer and winter, a theme deducted from the four season series. Like other Romantic painters such as Caspar David Friedrich, Barend Cornelis Koekkoek painted the motif of tiny figures within imposing, majestic natural environments to contrast humble humanity with the greatness of creation.

This was a popular subject matter in the Golden Age, the main source of inspiration for nineteenth-century artists.

The flat Dutch countryside could not satisfy Barend Cornelis Koekkoek’s romantic soul for very long.  With that in mind, in the summer of 1834 he moved to the old Ducal capital of Cleves, Germany, where he found his ideal subject matter in the region of the Ahr, Ruhr and Rhine. In Cleves, where he would spend the rest of his life, Barend Cornelis Koekkoek painted his most important landscapes.

In 1841, by popular demand from young artists eager to receive his tuition, Barend Cornelis Koekkoek founded his own drawing academy, and in his footsteps, many artists travelled to the former ducal residence seeking instruction from the great master at the academy, among them Frederik Marinus Kruseman, Lodewijk Johannes Kleijn, and Johann Bernard Klombeck. Closely adhering to their master's principles expressed in his writings and in his paintings, these artists collectively gave rise to the school of landscape painting referred to as 'Cleves Romanticism'.

Up to this day, Koekkoek's work is very much favored for the lively composition and the mood of nostalgia, in which the Dutch Golden Age seems to linger on. Just as he was during his own lifetime, Barend Cornelis Koekkoek is widely regarded as the most accomplished landscape painter of Dutch romanticism.

Movement: Romanticism
Influences: Johannes Hermanus Koekkoek, Abraham Krayestein
Traveled: Germany
Influenced: Frederik Kruseman, Lodewijk Kleijn, Johann Klombeck
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