Egbert Lievensz van der Poel


Second half of the 1650s.
Wood (oak), oil, 26 x 35 cm
Signed right, bottom: EvanderPoel

The motif of a night fire occupies a central place in the paintings of the mature period of the work of the Dutch artist Egbert van der Poel. He can rightfully be called a Dutch caravaggist artist in the landscape genre. At the beginning of the 17th century, under the influence of the Italian artist Caravaggio, who was the first to use a sharp contrast of light and shadow in a painting, his followers appeared in Holland. Dutch Caravaggist artists (Gerrit and Willem van Honthorst, Hendrik Terbruggen, Rembrandt, etc.) painted, as a rule, portraits and genre paintings, but Caravaggism could not help but influence the Dutch landscape. Both in the paintings of the Caravaggist artists and in the “night fires” of Egbert van der Poel, the source of contrasting light is fire. It breaks the darkness of the night and illuminates surrounding people and objects with sharp reflections, thereby enhancing the realism of the painting and giving dramatic tension to the story. “Night fires” by Egbert van der Poel are characterized by: accurate rendering of color and tonal nuances, a free pictorial style, and a pronounced genre character of the painting.

As a comparative material, we can point to a painting from the collection of Dutch paintings by P. P. Semenov-Tyan-Shansky: “Fire in the Village”, wood, oil, 26 x 35 cm, State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, inv. GE-3142.

Dutch realism of the 17th century