Huchtenburg - Encyclopedia

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HUCHTENBURG, the name of two brothers who were Dutch painters in the second half of the 17th century. Both were natives of Haarlem. Jacob, the elder, of whom very little is known, studied under Berghem, and went early to Italy, where he died young about 1667. His pictures are probably confounded with those of his brother. In Copenhagen, where alone they are catalogued, they illustrate the style of a Dutchman who transfers Berghem's cattle and flocks to Italian landscapes and marketplaces.

John van Huchtenburg (1646-1733), born at Haarlem it is said in 1646, was first taught by Thomas Wyk, and afterwards induced to visit the chief cities of Italy, where, penetrating as far as Rome, he met and dwelt with his brother Jacob. After the death of the latter he wandered homewards, taking Paris on his way, and served under Van der Meulen, then employed in illustrating for Louis XIV. the campaign of1667-1668in the Low Countries. In 1670 he settled at Haarlem, where he married, practised and kept a dealer's shop. His style had now merged into an imitation of Philip Wouvermans and Van der Meulen, which could not fail to produce pretty pictures of hunts and robber camps, the faculty of painting horses and men in action and varied dress being the chief point of attraction. Later Huchtenburg ventured on cavalry skirmishes and engagements of regular troops generally, and these were admired by Prince Eugene and William III., who gave the painter sittings, and commissioned him to throw upon canvas the chief incidents of the battles they fought upon the continent of Europe. When he died at Amsterdam in 1733, Huchtenburg had done much by his pictures and prints to make Prince Eugene, King William and Marlborough popular. Though clever in depicting a mêlée or a skirmish of dragoons, he remained second to Philip Wouvermans in accuracy of drawing, and inferior to Van der Meulen in the production of landscapes. But, nevertheless, he was a clever and spirited master, with great facility of hand and considerable natural powers of observation.

The earliest date on his pictures is 1674, when he executed the "Stag-Hunt" in the Museum of Berlin,and the "Fight with Robbers" in the Lichtenstein collection at Vienna. A "Skirmish at Fleurus" (1690) in the Brussels gallery seems but the precursor of larger and more powerful works, such as the "Siege of Namur" (1695) in the Belvedere at Vienna, where William III. is seen in the foreground accompanied by Max Emmanuel, the Bavarian elector. Three years before, Huchtenburg had had sittings from Prince Eugene (Hague museum) and William III. (Amsterdam Trippenhuis). After 1696 he regularly served as court painter to Prince Eugene, and we have at Turin (gallery) a series of eleven canvases all of the same size depicting the various battles of the great hero, commencing with the fight of Zentha against the Turks in 1697, and concluding with the capture of Belgrade in 1717. Had the duke of Marlborough been fond of art he would doubtless have possessed many works of our artist. All that remains at Blenheim, however, is a couple of sketches of battles, which were probably sent to Churchill by his great contemporary. The pictures of Huchtenburg are not very numerous now in public galleries. There is one in the National Gallery, London, another at the Louvre. But Copenhagen has four, Dresden six, Gotha two, and Munich has the well-known composition of "Tallart taken Prisoner at Blenheim in 1704."

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