(b ?Woerden, nr. Utrecht, c.1600; d Paris, 1655). Dutch landscape painter, printmaker, and draughtsman, active mainly in France and Italy. He is recorded in Paris in 1623 and from 1629 to 1641 he lived in Rome. There is no documentary evidence in support of the tradition that he once shared a house with Claude, but he was certainly close to him in style and both artists were among those who painted landscapes for Philip IV's (see Habsburg) Buen Retiro Palace in Madrid—‘the largest, most spectacular landscape commission awarded in Europe during the seventeenth century’ (Seymour Slive, Dutch Painting: 1600–1800, 1995). Swanevelt often included antique remains in his paintings, and according to Sandrart he was nicknamed Eremiet (‘hermit’; see Schildersbent) because of his fondness for painting amid ruins and solitary places in and around Rome. He continued producing views of Roman ruins after he left Italy and moved to Paris (The Arch of Constantine, Rome, 1645, Dulwich Picture Gal., London). For the rest of his career he was based in Paris, but he made several visits to Woerden. His work helped to spread the tradition of ideal landscape in northern Europe. In addition to paintings he produced etchings and drawings.
From The Oxford Dictionary of Art in Oxford Reference.