Hendrick (Cornelisz.) van Vliet
Vliet, Hendrick (Cornelisz.) van
(b Delft, 161112; d Delft, bur 28 Oct 1675).
Dutch painter. He is the only living artist discussed in Dirck van Bleyswijcks
contemporary description of Delft, where he is said to have studied with his uncle, the
portrait painter Willem van Vliet (?1583/41642), and then with Michiel van
Mierevelt. From 1632 to c. 1650 van Vliet practised portraiture in a conservative South
Holland style (e.g. Portrait of a Woman, 1650; Amsterdam, Rijksmus.). Around 1651 he
turned to painting interior views of actual churches, mostly the Oude Kerk or the Nieuwe
Kerk in Delft. His earliest known dated architectural picture, the Pieterskerk in Leiden
(1652; Brunswick, Herzog Anton Ulrich-Mus.), is one of about 20 paintings representing
churches in Leiden, Haarlem and Dutch towns other than Delft
Van Vliet followed the example of Gerrit Houckgeest, whose portraits of Delft church
interiors and their tomb monuments both met and stimulated a demand for such pictures.
Like his contemporary Emanuel de Witte, van Vliet adopted Houckgeests
two-point perspective scheme, in which the architecture ascends high in the
foreground and recedes obliquely to the sides. However, van Vliet did not emulate
Houckgeest s goal of fidelity to the architecture, and in such characteristic works
as the Pieterskerk pictures (another, of 1653, is in Sarasota, FL, Ringling Mus. A.), the
Oude Kerk in Delft (1654; Amsterdam, Rijksmus.) and the Oude Kerk in Delft (c.
165860; The Hague, Mauritshuis) he arbitrarily increased the apparent depth of the
view and the viewer s distance from the picture plane. The columns are stretched
vertically and are frequently placed at will, as are epitaphs, hatchments, pulpits and
occasionally tombs. During the 1650s and early 1660s van Vliet frequently employed a
painted archway, a trompe loeil curtain or both devices together to enhance the
illusionistic space of his church interiors, which was complemented by his concentration
on the cracked, rubbed, porous texture of the stone and a suggestion of damp atmosphere.
Van Vliets palette is often cooler than either Houckgeests or de Wittes,
favouring greenish tones and pervasive shadows penetrated by thin shafts of sunlight.
After the 1650s van Vliets style could be stiff or careless, as in the numerous
small pictures hastily produced in his later years. His distinctive figures, as well as
his inclusion of dogs and such favourite motifs as groups of children and freshly dug
graves, help to separate van Vliets unsigned paintings from those by followers such
as Cornelis de Man (16211706).
H. Jantzen: Das niederländische Architekturbild (Leipzig, 1910)
W. A. Liedtke: Architectural Painting in Delft: Gerard Houckgeest, Hendrick van Vliet,
Emanuel de Witte (Doornspijk, 1982)