Jacob van Campen


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(b Haarlem, 2 Feb. 1595; d Randenbroek [his country seat], nr. Amersfoort, 13 Sept. 1657).

Dutch architect and painter. He was the greatest Dutch architect of the 17th century and occupied a role in his country similar to that of his contemporary Inigo Jones in England by introducing a fully mature classical style: the contemporary diplomat Constantijn Huygens described him as the man ‘who vanquished Gothic folly with Roman stateliness and drove old heresy forth before an older truth’. His most important building is Amsterdam town hall (begun 1648, later renamed the royal palace), a triumphant symbol of the city during its greatest period. The building was richly decorated: Artus I Quellin led a team of sculptors, and Rembrandt was among those who provided paintings, although his Conspiracy of Julius Civilis (1661–2, Nationalmuseum, Stockholm) was removed soon after installation and replaced with a picture by his pupil Juriaen Ovens (1623–78). Van Campen's other buildings include the beautiful Mauritshuis in The Hague (begun 1633), designed as a royal palace and now a celebrated picture gallery. As a painter he concentrated on historical and decorative work and was one of the team, including Jordaens and Lievens, who worked on the decoration of the Huis ten Bosch, the royal villa on the outskirts of The Hague.

Subjects: Architecture — Art.

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