Ask a question about 'Fijnschilder'
Start a new discussion about 'Fijnschilder'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
The Fijnschilders also called the Leiden Fijnschilders ('Leidse Fijnschilders'), were Dutch Golden Age painter
Dutch Golden Age painting
Dutch Golden Age painting is the painting of the Dutch Golden Age, a period in Dutch history generally spanning the 17th century, during and after the later part of the Eighty Years War for Dutch independence. The new Dutch Republic was the most prosperous nation in Europe, and led European trade,...

s who, from about 1630 to 1710, strove to create as natural a reproduction of reality as possible in their meticulously executed, often small-scale works.

Although in the seventeenth century, as in modern Dutch
Dutch language
Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...

, the term fijnschilder was used to differentiate between a painter practicing classic techniques and one who, for instance, is a house painter, in the nineteenth century it became a label for artists like Gerrit Dou and his followers in Leiden. Dou, Frans van Mieris, Sr.
Frans van Mieris, Sr.
Frans van Mieris, the elder , was a Dutch Golden Age genre and portrait painter. The leading member of a Leiden family of painters, his sons Jan and Willem and his grandson Frans van Mieris the Younger were also accomplished genre painters.-Biography:Frans was the son of Jan Bastiaans van Mieris,...

 and Adriaen van der Werff
Adriaen van der Werff
Adriaen van der Werff was an accomplished Dutch painter of portraits and erotic, devotional and mythological scenes. His brother, Pieter van der Werff , was his principal pupil and assistant.-Life:...

—all among the most successful of the Dutch Baroque—became identifiable by their "fine" manner, exquisite techniques, and extreme attention to detail resulting in works with smooth surfaces completely lacking painterly
Painterliness is a translation of the German term , a word popularized by Swiss art historian Heinrich Wölfflin in order to help focus, enrich and standardize the terms being used by art historians of his time to characterize works of art...

 brush strokes. The application of paint contrasts with the textures and style of other Dutch painters, such as Frans Hals
Frans Hals
Frans Hals was a Dutch Golden Age painter. He is notable for his loose painterly brushwork, and helped introduce this lively style of painting into Dutch art. Hals was also instrumental in the evolution of 17th century group portraiture.-Biography:Hals was born in 1580 or 1581, in Antwerp...

 and Dou's teacher Rembrandt van Rijn. In this way they have more in common with earlier traditions in Netherlandish painting
Early Netherlandish painting
Early Netherlandish painting refers to the work of artists active in the Low Countries during the 15th- and early 16th-century Northern renaissance, especially in the flourishing Burgundian cities of Bruges and Ghent...

, such as the detailed richness of Jan van Eyck
Jan van Eyck
Jan van Eyck was a Flemish painter active in Bruges and considered one of the best Northern European painters of the 15th century....

. Other artists working in the style include Godfried Schalcken
Godfried Schalcken
Godfried Schalcken or Gottfried Schalken , was a Dutch genre and portrait painter. He was noted for his mastery in reproducing the effect of candlelight, and painted in the exquisite and highly polished manner of the Leiden fijnschilders.- Life and work :Godfried Schalcken was born in 1643 at...

, Quirijn van Brekelenkam
Quirijn van Brekelenkam
Quirijn or Quiringh Gerritsz van Brekelenkam , was a Dutch Baroque genre painter. He probably studied under Gerard Dou, and as a result his paintings from the 1640s and 1650s are similar to those of the Leiden fijnschilders.-References:* Elizabeth Alice Honig, "Brekelenkam, Quiringh [Quirijn] ...

 and, at times, Gabriel Metsu
Gabriel Metsu
Gabriël Metsu was a Dutch painter of history paintings, genre works and portraits.- Life :Metsu was the son of the Flemish painter Jacques Metsu , who lived most of his days at Leiden, and Jacomijntje Garniers, his third wife, whom he married in 1625. Jacomijntje was the widow of a painter with...


The fijnschilders are best-known for genre scenes showing everyday life and activities, candle-lit nocturnal subjects, and trompe l'oeil
Trompe l'oeil
Trompe-l'œil, which can also be spelled without the hyphen in English as trompe l'oeil, is an art technique involving extremely realistic imagery in order to create the optical illusion that the depicted objects appear in three dimensions.-History in painting:Although the phrase has its origin in...

"niche" paintings.