PIETER DE MOLIJN
London 1595 – 1661 Haarlem
Peter de Molijn was born in 1595 in the Netherlandish enclave of Austin Friars in the City of London, the son of the Ghent textile trader Pieter de Molijn and Lijntgen Hendrixdr. van den Bos from Brussels. He spent almost his whole career, from 1616 until his death in 1661, in Haarlem. Possibly a pupil of Esaias van der Velde (1587-1630), Molijn became a master in the Haarlem Guild of St Luke in 1616. He held various positions in the guild, including vinder and deken, in the 1620s and 1630s.
In 1618 Molijn was in Rome, where he signed the album amicorum of the portrait painter Wybrand de Geest (1592-c.1661), one of the Bentvueghel group of expatriate Dutch artists: ‘In Rome den 6 junij 1618/Pieter du Molyn’. No works by Molijn survive that might have been made in Italy, although he created Italianate subjects later in his career. Molijn was back in Haarlem by 1621; three years later he married Mayken Geraerts.
Molijn specialized in landscapes of the sandy dunes around Haarlem. From the second half of the 1620s, along with artists such as Jan van Goyen (1596-1656), Molijn pioneered the ‘tonal’ landscape, which used a gentle palette of soft browns and greens to give atmosphere to unassuming, but highly typical, Dutch countryside. His staffage is more complex and individualized than the figures of Jan van Goyen. Molijn’s later landscapes have greater use of local colour. He also painted river landscapes, portraits, interiors, peasant genre and still lifes.
Among Molijn’s pupils were his son Anthony de Molijn (1635-1702), Gerard Ter Borch the Younger (1617-1681) and Allaert van Everdingen (1621-1675). He died in Haarlem in 1661.
The work of Pieter de Molijn is represented in the Teylers Museum, Haarlem; the Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem; the Staatliche Museum, Berlin; the Hertzog-Anton-Ulrich Museum, Brunswick; the National Museum, Stockholm; the Pushkin Museum, Moscow; the National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin and the Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh.