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The Most Famous

PAINTERS from Netherlands

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This page contains a list of the greatest Dutch Painters. The pantheon dataset contains 1,421 Painters, 126 of which were born in Netherlands. This makes Netherlands the birth place of the 5th most number of Painters behind United States and Germany.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Dutch Painters of all time. This list of famous Dutch Painters is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Dutch Painters.

Photo of Vincent van Gogh

1. Vincent van Gogh (1853 - 1890)

With an HPI of 90.02, Vincent van Gogh is the most famous Dutch Painter.  His biography has been translated into 199 different languages on wikipedia.

Vincent Willem van Gogh (Dutch: [ˈvɪnsənt ˈʋɪləm vɑŋ ˈɣɔx] (listen); 30 March 1853 – 29 July 1890) was a Dutch Post-Impressionist painter who posthumously became one of the most famous and influential figures in Western art history. In a decade, he created about 2,100 artworks, including around 860 oil paintings, most of which date from the last two years of his life. They include landscapes, still lifes, portraits and self-portraits, and are characterised by bold colours and dramatic, impulsive and expressive brushwork that contributed to the foundations of modern art. Not commercially successful, he struggled with severe depression and poverty, eventually leading to his suicide at age thirty-seven. Born into an upper-middle-class family, Van Gogh drew as a child and was serious, quiet, and thoughtful. As a young man, he worked as an art dealer, often traveling, but became depressed after he was transferred to London. He turned to religion and spent time as a Protestant missionary in southern Belgium. He drifted in ill health and solitude before taking up painting in 1881, having moved back home with his parents. His younger brother Theo supported him financially; the two kept a long correspondence by letter. His early works, mostly still lifes and depictions of peasant labourers, contain few signs of the vivid colour that distinguished his later work. In 1886, he moved to Paris, where he met members of the avant-garde, including Émile Bernard and Paul Gauguin, who were reacting against the Impressionist sensibility. As his work developed he created a new approach to still lifes and local landscapes. His paintings grew brighter as he developed a style that became fully realised during his stay in Arles in the South of France in 1888. During this period he broadened his subject matter to include series of olive trees, wheat fields and sunflowers. Van Gogh suffered from psychotic episodes and delusions and though he worried about his mental stability, he often neglected his physical health, did not eat properly and drank heavily. His friendship with Gauguin ended after a confrontation with a razor when, in a rage, he severed part of his own left ear. He spent time in psychiatric hospitals, including a period at Saint-Rémy. After he discharged himself and moved to the Auberge Ravoux in Auvers-sur-Oise near Paris, he came under the care of the homeopathic doctor Paul Gachet. His depression persisted, and on 27 July 1890, Van Gogh is believed to have shot himself in the chest with a revolver, dying from his injuries two days later. Van Gogh was commercially unsuccessful during his lifetime, and he was considered a madman and a failure. As he only became famous after his suicide, he came to be seen as a misunderstood genius in the public imagination. His reputation grew in the early 20th century as elements of his style came to be incorporated by the Fauves and German Expressionists. He attained widespread critical and commercial success over the ensuing decades, and is remembered as an important but tragic painter whose troubled personality typifies the romantic ideal of the tortured artist. Today, Van Gogh's works are among the world's most expensive paintings to have ever sold, and his legacy is honoured by a museum in his name, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, which holds the world's largest collection of his paintings and drawings.

Photo of Rembrandt

2. Rembrandt (1606 - 1669)

With an HPI of 88.23, Rembrandt is the 2nd most famous Dutch Painter.  His biography has been translated into 166 different languages.

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (, Dutch: [ˈrɛmbrɑnt ˈɦɑrmə(n)ˌsoːɱ vɑn ˈrɛin] (listen); 15 July 1606 – 4 October 1669), usually simply known as Rembrandt, was a Dutch Golden Age painter, printmaker and draughtsman. An innovative and prolific master in three media, he is generally considered one of the greatest visual artists in the history of art and the most important in Dutch art history.Unlike most Dutch masters of the 17th century, Rembrandt's works depict a wide range of style and subject matter, from portraits and self-portraits to landscapes, genre scenes, allegorical and historical scenes, biblical and mythological themes and animal studies. His contributions to art came in a period of great wealth and cultural achievement that historians call the Dutch Golden Age, when Dutch art (especially Dutch painting), whilst antithetical to the Baroque style that dominated Europe, was prolific and innovative. This era gave rise to important new genres. Like many artists of the Dutch Golden Age, such as Jan Vermeer, Rembrandt was an avid art collector and dealer. Rembrandt never went abroad, but was considerably influenced by the work of the Italian masters and Netherlandish artists who had studied in Italy, like Pieter Lastman, the Utrecht Caravaggists, Flemish Baroque, and Peter Paul Rubens. After he achieved youthful success as a portrait painter, Rembrandt's later years were marked by personal tragedy and financial hardships. Yet his etchings and paintings were popular throughout his lifetime, his reputation as an artist remained high, and for twenty years he taught many important Dutch painters.Rembrandt's portraits of his contemporaries, self-portraits and illustrations of scenes from the Bible are regarded as his greatest creative triumphs. His self-portraits form an intimate autobiography. Rembrandt's foremost contribution in the history of printmaking was his transformation of the etching process from a relatively new reproductive technique into an art form. His reputation as the greatest etcher in the history of the medium was established in his lifetime. Few of his paintings left the Dutch Republic while he lived, but his prints were circulated throughout Europe, and his wider reputation was initially based on them alone. In his works, he exhibited knowledge of classical iconography. A depiction of a biblical scene was informed by Rembrandt's knowledge of the specific text, his assimilation of classical composition, and his observations of Amsterdam's Jewish population. Because of his empathy for the human condition, he has been called "one of the great prophets of civilization". The French sculptor Auguste Rodin said, "Compare me with Rembrandt! What sacrilege! With Rembrandt, the colossus of Art! We should prostrate ourselves before Rembrandt and never compare anyone with him!"

Photo of Johannes Vermeer

3. Johannes Vermeer (1632 - 1675)

With an HPI of 85.26, Johannes Vermeer is the 3rd most famous Dutch Painter.  His biography has been translated into 101 different languages.

Johannes Vermeer ( vər-MEER, vər-MAIR, Dutch: [vərˈmeːr], see below; also known as Jan Vermeer; October 1632 – 15 December 1675) was a Dutch Baroque Period painter who specialized in domestic interior scenes of middle-class life. During his lifetime, he was a moderately successful provincial genre painter, recognized in Delft and The Hague. Nonetheless, he produced relatively few paintings and evidently was not wealthy, leaving his wife and children in debt at his death.Vermeer worked slowly and with great care, and frequently used very expensive pigments. He is particularly renowned for his masterly treatment and use of light in his work."Almost all his paintings", Hans Koningsberger wrote, "are apparently set in two smallish rooms in his house in Delft; they show the same furniture and decorations in various arrangements and they often portray the same people, mostly women."His modest celebrity gave way to obscurity after his death. He was barely mentioned in Arnold Houbraken's major source book on 17th-century Dutch painting (Grand Theatre of Dutch Painters and Women Artists) and was thus omitted from subsequent surveys of Dutch art for nearly two centuries. In the 19th century, Vermeer was rediscovered by Gustav Friedrich Waagen and Théophile Thoré-Bürger, who published an essay attributing 66 pictures to him, although only 34 paintings are universally attributed to him today. Since that time, Vermeer's reputation has grown, and he is now acknowledged as one of the greatest painters of the Dutch Golden Age. Similar to other major Dutch Golden Age artists such as Frans Hals and Rembrandt, Vermeer never went abroad. Also, like Rembrandt, he was an avid art collector and dealer.

Photo of Pieter Bruegel the Elder

4. Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1525 - 1569)

With an HPI of 81.00, Pieter Bruegel the Elder is the 4th most famous Dutch Painter.  His biography has been translated into 82 different languages.

Pieter Bruegel (also Brueghel or Breughel) the Elder (, also US: ; Dutch: [ˈpitər ˈbrøːɣəl] (listen); c. 1525–1530 – 9 September 1569) was the most significant artist of Dutch and Flemish Renaissance painting, a painter and printmaker, known for his landscapes and peasant scenes (so-called genre painting); he was a pioneer in making both types of subject the focus in large paintings. He was a formative influence on Dutch Golden Age painting and later painting in general in his innovative choices of subject matter, as one of the first generation of artists to grow up when religious subjects had ceased to be the natural subject matter of painting. He also painted no portraits, the other mainstay of Netherlandish art. After his training and travels to Italy, he returned in 1555 to settle in Antwerp, where he worked mainly as a prolific designer of prints for the leading publisher of the day. Only towards the end of the decade did he switch to make painting his main medium, and all his famous paintings come from the following period of little more than a decade before his early death, when he was probably in his early forties, and at the height of his powers. As well as looking forwards, his art reinvigorates medieval subjects such as marginal drolleries of ordinary life in illuminated manuscripts, and the calendar scenes of agricultural labours set in landscape backgrounds, and puts these on a much larger scale than before, and in the expensive medium of oil painting. He does the same with the fantastic and anarchic world developed in Renaissance prints and book illustrations.He is sometimes referred to as "Peasant Bruegel", to distinguish him from the many later painters in his family, including his son Pieter Brueghel the Younger (1564–1638). From 1559, he dropped the 'h' from his name and signed his paintings as Bruegel; his relatives continued to use "Brueghel" or "Breughel".

Photo of Piet Mondrian

5. Piet Mondrian (1872 - 1944)

With an HPI of 80.46, Piet Mondrian is the 5th most famous Dutch Painter.  His biography has been translated into 67 different languages.

Pieter Cornelis Mondriaan (Dutch: [ˈpitər kɔrˈneːlɪs ˈmɔndrijaːn]), after 1906 known as Piet Mondrian (, also US: , Dutch: [pit ˈmɔndrijɑn]; 7 March 1872 – 1 February 1944), was a Dutch painter and art theoretician who is regarded as one of the greatest artists of the 20th century. He is known for being one of the pioneers of 20th-century abstract art, as he changed his artistic direction from figurative painting to an increasingly abstract style, until he reached a point where his artistic vocabulary was reduced to simple geometric elements. Mondrian's art was highly utopian and was concerned with a search for universal values and aesthetics. He proclaimed in 1914: "Art is higher than reality and has no direct relation to reality. To approach the spiritual in art, one will make as little use as possible of reality, because reality is opposed to the spiritual. We find ourselves in the presence of an abstract art. Art should be above reality, otherwise it would have no value for man." His art, however, always remained rooted in nature. He was a contributor to the De Stijl art movement and group, which he co-founded with Theo van Doesburg. He evolved a non-representational form which he termed Neoplasticism. This was the new 'pure plastic art' which he believed was necessary in order to create 'universal beauty'. To express this, Mondrian eventually decided to limit his formal vocabulary to the three primary colors (red, blue and yellow), the three primary values (black, white and gray) and the two primary directions (horizontal and vertical). Mondrian's arrival in Paris from the Netherlands in 1911 marked the beginning of a period of profound change. He encountered experiments in Cubism and with the intent of integrating himself within the Parisian avant-garde removed an 'a' from the Dutch spelling of his name (Mondriaan). Mondrian's work had an enormous influence on 20th century art, influencing not only the course of abstract painting and numerous major styles and art movements (e.g. Color Field painting, Abstract Expressionism and Minimalism), but also fields outside the domain of painting, such as design, architecture and fashion. Design historian Stephen Bayley said: "Mondrian has come to mean Modernism. His name and his work sum up the High Modernist ideal. I don't like the word 'iconic', so let's say that he's become totemic – a totem for everything Modernism set out to be."

Photo of Hieronymus Bosch

6. Hieronymus Bosch (1450 - 1516)

With an HPI of 80.10, Hieronymus Bosch is the 6th most famous Dutch Painter.  His biography has been translated into 79 different languages.

Hieronymus Bosch (, Dutch: [ɦijeːˈroːnimʏz ˈbɔs] (listen); born Jheronimus van Aken [jeːˈroːnimʏs fɑn ˈaːkə(n)]; c. 1450 – 9 August 1516) was a Dutch/Netherlandish painter from Brabant. He is one of the most notable representatives of the Early Netherlandish painting school. His work, generally oil on oak wood, mainly contains fantastic illustrations of religious concepts and narratives. Within his lifetime his work was collected in the Netherlands, Austria, and Spain, and widely copied, especially his macabre and nightmarish depictions of hell. Little is known of Bosch's life, though there are some records. He spent most of it in the town of 's-Hertogenbosch, where he was born in his grandfather's house. The roots of his forefathers are in Nijmegen and Aachen (which is visible in his surname: Van Aken). His pessimistic fantastical style cast a wide influence on northern art of the 16th century, with Pieter Bruegel the Elder being his best-known follower. Today, Bosch is seen as a hugely individualistic painter with deep insight into humanity's desires and deepest fears. Attribution has been especially difficult; today only about 25 paintings are confidently given to his hand along with eight drawings. About another half-dozen paintings are confidently attributed to his workshop. His most acclaimed works consist of a few triptych altarpieces, including The Garden of Earthly Delights.

Photo of Jan Steen

7. Jan Steen (1626 - 1679)

With an HPI of 69.49, Jan Steen is the 7th most famous Dutch Painter.  His biography has been translated into 48 different languages.

Jan Havickszoon Steen (c. 1626 – buried 3 February 1679) was a Dutch Golden Age painter, one of the leading genre painters of the 17th century. His works are known for their psychological insight, sense of humour and abundance of colour.

Photo of Jacob van Ruisdael

8. Jacob van Ruisdael (1628 - 1682)

With an HPI of 67.33, Jacob van Ruisdael is the 8th most famous Dutch Painter.  His biography has been translated into 41 different languages.

Jacob Isaackszoon van Ruisdael (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈjaːkɔp fɑn ˈrœyzˌdaːl] (listen); c. 1629 – 10 March 1682) was a Dutch painter, draughtsman, and etcher. He is generally considered the pre-eminent landscape painter of the Dutch Golden Age, a period of great wealth and cultural achievement when Dutch painting became highly popular. Prolific and versatile, Ruisdael depicted a wide variety of landscape subjects. From 1646 he painted Dutch countryside scenes of remarkable quality for a young man. After a trip to Germany in 1650, his landscapes took on a more heroic character. In his late work, conducted when he lived and worked in Amsterdam, he added city panoramas and seascapes to his regular repertoire. In these, the sky often took up two-thirds of the canvas. In total he produced more than 150 Scandinavian views featuring waterfalls. Ruisdael's only registered pupil was Meindert Hobbema, one of several artists who painted figures in his landscapes. Hobbema's work has at times been confused with Ruisdael's. Ruisdael always spelt his name thus: Ruisdael, not Ruysdael. Ruisdael's work was in demand in the Dutch Republic during his lifetime. Today it is spread across private and institutional collections around the world; the National Gallery in London, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, and the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg hold the largest collections. Ruisdael shaped landscape painting traditions worldwide, from the English Romantics to the Barbizon school in France, and the Hudson River School in the US, and influenced generations of Dutch landscape artists.

Photo of Han van Meegeren

9. Han van Meegeren (1889 - 1947)

With an HPI of 67.07, Han van Meegeren is the 9th most famous Dutch Painter.  His biography has been translated into 29 different languages.

Henricus Antonius "Han" van Meegeren (Dutch pronunciation: [ɦɛnˈrikʏs ɑnˈtoːnijəs ˈɦɑɱ vɑˈmeːɣərə(n)]; 10 October 1889 – 30 December 1947) was a Dutch painter and portraitist, considered one of the most ingenious art forgers of the 20th century. Van Meegeren became a national hero after World War II when it was revealed that he had sold a forged painting to Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands.As a child, Van Meegeren developed an enthusiasm for the paintings of the Dutch Golden Age, and he set out to become an artist. Art critics, however, decried his work as tired and derivative, and Van Meegeren felt that they had destroyed his career. He decided to prove his talent by forging paintings by 17th-century artists including Frans Hals, Pieter de Hooch, Gerard ter Borch and Johannes Vermeer. The best art critics and experts of the time accepted the paintings as genuine and sometimes exquisite. His most successful forgery was Supper at Emmaus, created in 1937 while he was living in the south of France; the painting was hailed as a real Vermeer by leading experts of the day such as Dr Abraham Bredius.During World War II, Göring traded 137 paintings for one of Van Meegeren's false Vermeers, and it became one of his most prized possessions. Following the war, Van Meegeren was arrested, as officials believed that he had sold Dutch cultural property to the Nazis. Facing a possible death penalty, Van Meegeren confessed to the less serious charge of forgery. He was convicted on falsification and fraud charges on 12 November 1947, after a brief but highly publicised trial, and was sentenced to one year in prison. He did not serve out his sentence however; he died on 30 December 1947 in the Valerius Clinic in Amsterdam, after two heart attacks. A biography in 1967 estimated that Van Meegeren duped buyers out of the equivalent of more than US$30 million (approximately US$254 million in 2022); his victims included the government of the Netherlands.

Photo of Pieter de Hooch

10. Pieter de Hooch (1629 - 1684)

With an HPI of 66.59, Pieter de Hooch is the 10th most famous Dutch Painter.  His biography has been translated into 35 different languages.

Pieter de Hooch (Dutch: [ˈpitər də ɦoːx], also spelled "Hoogh" or "Hooghe"; 20 December 1629 (baptized) – 24 March 1684 (buried)) was a Dutch Golden Age painter famous for his genre works of quiet domestic scenes with an open doorway. He was a contemporary of Jan Vermeer in the Delft Guild of St. Luke, with whom his work shares themes and style.

Pantheon has 126 people classified as painters born between 1415 and 1921. Of these 126, none of them are still alive today. The most famous deceased painters include Vincent van Gogh, Rembrandt, and Johannes Vermeer. As of April 2022, 19 new painters have been added to Pantheon including Jan Miense Molenaer, Jan Mandijn, and Frans van Mieris the Elder.

Deceased Painters

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Newly Added Painters (2022)

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Which Painters were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 25 most globally memorable Painters since 1700.