CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Nicolaas Verkolje (1673-1746): de fluwelen hand

Nicolaas Verkolje (1673-1746): the velvet touch Exhibition: 5 February - 12 June 2011

From the museum website, 3 January 2011

From 5 February through 12 June 2011, the Rijksmuseum Twenthe in Enschede will be exhibiting the first ever retrospective of the work of Nicolaas Verkolje (1673-1746). The museum has one of the finest paintings from his oeuvre in its collection: Moses found by Pharoah’s daughter.

The painting is the perfect example of Verkolje’s characteristic velvet touch; an exceptional combination of warm colour and clear lines. The exhibition Nicolaas Verkolje (1643-1746). The velvet touch, includes works on loan from the Louvre in Paris, from the Thyssen-Bornemisza collection and from museums in Germany and London, giving the visitor a unique opportunity to become acquainted with the work of this artist.

Holland’s answer to French art in the 18th century

Around the mid-17th century the dramatic painting of Rubens and Rembrandt fell out of fashion. In Holland there is then more interest for classic tendencies from Italy and France, as can be seen in the work of Poussin. At the beginning of the 18th century, Verkolje merged these two developments by going back to biblical and mythological themes and dynamic compositions. His velvet touch, beautiful colour combinations and eye for detail make even the most dramatic stories accessible and easy on the eye for the viewer.

International collections

A remarkable fact is that the work of Verkolje in the 18th century was bought by enthusiastic collectors from other countries. His work can be found in famous collections such as the Hermitage in St Petersburg, the Louvre in Paris and the Thyssen-Bornemisza family collection. Initially there was considerable interest for his work in his own country, but this ebbed in the 19th and 20th century. Recent years have seen a resurgence of interest in the 18th century, so now attention has been growing for Verkolje and his work has been bought by the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, the Rijksmuseum Twenthe and the Dordrechts Museum.

Nicolaas Verkolje

He was born in Delft in 1673, and probably had his first art lessons from his father Jan. After his education he moved in 1700 to Amsterdam where he lived and worked for the rest of his life. He was praised by art biographers such as Arnold Houbraken and Jan van Gool as a great master and exceptional draughtsman. Verkolje himself claimed that he could paint animals as well as Paulus Potter, water as well as Willem van de Velde, and flowers as well as Jan van Huysum. He died at the age of 73 in Amsterdam.


Nicolaas Verkolje 1673-1746
Edited by Paul Knolle and Everhard Korthals-Altes
Catalogue of an exhibition held in Enschede (Rijksmueum Twenthe) in 2011
192 pp., ca. 90 illustrations in color and 20 in black and white
Zwolle (Waanders) 2011
ISBN: 9789040077258

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