(Amsterdam 1766 – 1839 Rome)
After the Storm, Rome, circa 1808
Oil on canvas, 54 x 66 cm
Signed and dated lower left: H. Voogd fecit 1808
At the right, a billowing mass of pitch-black thunderclouds recedes in the wake of a violent storm and the sky opens, infusing the landscape with brilliant sunlight. Although the pictorial power of the image and its carefully orchestrated effects of light may be suggestive of a stage set, the painting is nonetheless based on the direct observation of nature. Voogd recorded his experiences of the natural world in a large body of drawings and watercolors. Hundreds of these studies are still extant. The muted tones of areas of shadow contrast with brighter, sunlit areas. Light gleams on a fresh wound where part of the trunk of a large poplar has been ripped away by the storm. Delicate highlights illuminate the silhouettes of trees in the middle ground. Cattle meander along a track, while the diminutive figure of a herdsman approaches from behind. A classicist coolness distinguishes Voogd's landscapes from those of his seventeenth-century predecessors.
Hendrik Voogd completed an apprenticeship under Jurriaan Andriessen, an Amsterdam landscape painter. In 1788, he was awarded a bursary enabling him to further his studies in Rome, where he settled and was to remain for the rest of his life. He was appointed an honorary member of the Accademia di San Luca in 1816. Six years later he was invited to join the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Amsterdam. He not only forged friendships with members of the circle of German artists working in Rome but was also influenced by them in his art. The early ideal classical landscapes of Johann Christian Reinhart were a particular source of inspiration to him. Voogd’s preferred genre was landscape painting – one contemporary called him the ‘Dutch Claude Lorrain’. Neoclassical influences informed his work before 1805 but his later landscapes are naturalistic in interpretation.
A rich body of Voogd’s graphic oeuvre is still extant, but only between twenty and thirty paintings – all dating from the period between 1795 and 1831 – have survived.
Key compositional elements of the present landscape, with its masterly handling of light, recur in a painting Voogd made for Count Stroganoff, a connoisseur whose celebrated collection was formerly based in Rome (Fig. 1). It is very likely that the present painting at one time also belonged to a collector based in Rome, for it retains its original carved gilt frame – the work of a Rome framemaker. Voogd‘s works were highly sought after by international Grand Tour travelers. A number of his landscapes are held in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
- C. J. De Bruyn Kops, ‘Hendrik Voogd. Nederlands Landschapschilder te Rome (1768-1839)’, in Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek, 21 (1970), pp. 319-69.