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Before the advent of photography, if you wanted a picture of something or someone, you had to draw it yourself -- or hire someone to do it for you. Artists (at least the good ones) could make a good living painting portraits, cityscapes, scenes of commoners, or still lifes; and also preserving for us the particulars of their lives, the styles of their clothes and houses and the details of their world. Here are some whose works have lived beyond their lifetimes.
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Master W. B.

bornactivedied
unknown1490sunknown
an anonymous German painter, engraver, and stained glass designer of the late Gothic era. He has been tentatively identified as Wolfgang Beurer, about whom very little is known.
Links (1)


Jan van der Waarden

borndied
18111872
Born in Antwerp; Died in Rome


Max Joseph Wagenbauer

borndied
17751829
a Bavarian artist. Wagenbauer's works departed from the classic tradition. He developed his own methodology where he combined careful observation with detailed study of nature, which became the cornerstones of his depictions of landscape.
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Franz Xaver Wagenschon

aka: Wagenschön
borndied
17261790
a German Bohemian painter of the Rococo and Neoclassical styles. His works are to be found in the Kunsthistorisches Museum of Vienna, in Graz and in Upper Austria. In 1747 he went to Vienna to attend the local art academy, becoming a member of it in 1770. In his early years he was a carriage painter, producing portraits of noblemen, working in this vein at t...
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Johann Salomon Wahl

borndied
16891765
a German painter who became court painter in Denmark. Wahl was born in Chemnitz, and was trained as a painter between 1705 to 1711 with David Hoyer in Leipzig. In 1719 he settled in Hamburg, where he worked as a portrait painter of Holstein and Danish nobility. In 1722, he worked out of Hamburg for the Danish Royal Family. When Christian VI ascended the thro...
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Cross-listed in ExplorersCartographers

Jean-Frederic Waldeck

aka: Jean-Frédéric
bornactivedied
1766, Mar 16?1790s-1860s1875, Apr 30
a French antiquarian, cartographer, artist and explorer. Waldeck is remembered primarily for the exploration of Mexico and the publication of many examples of Maya and Aztec sculpture. Unfortunately, errors in his illustrations fostered misconceptions about Mesoamerican civilizations and contributed to Mayanism. In 1838, Waldeck published Voyage pittoresque...
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Ferdinand Georg Waldmuller

aka: Waldmüller
borndied
17931865
an Austrian painter and writer. Waldmüller was one of the most important Austrian painters of the Biedermeier period. Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller was one of the most important Austrian painters of the Biedermeier period. Whether it was the conquest of the landscape and thus the convincing rendering of closeness or distance, the accurate characterisation of ...
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Anthonie Waldorp

borndied
18031866
a Dutch painter and a forerunner of the Hague School. Anthonie started painting stage sceneries like his grandfather, Jan Gerard Waldor. Later he focused on domestic and church interiors and portraits (people in 17th-century costumes). Finally he specialized in landscapes, river and seascapes (paintings, drawings and water colors). It proved to be a wise dec...
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Jan Baptist Martin Wans

aka: Wants, Wamps
borndied
1628, Dec 101684
a Flemish Baroque painter known for his landscapes, still lifes and religious scenes. Only a few paintings of Jan Baptist Martin Wans are known to exist. He was mainly a landscape artist but he also painted religious compositions. He is further said to have painted copies of the works of Anthony van Dyck. As a landscape painter he is regarded as a follower o...
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James Ward

borndied
17691859
an English painter, particularly of animals, and an engraver. James Ward was one of the outstanding artists of the day, his singular style and great skill set him above most of his contemporaries, markedly influencing the growth of British art. Regarded as one of the great animal painters of his time, James produced history paintings, portraits, landscapes a...
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Anthonie Waterloo

borndied
16091690
a Dutch Golden Age landscape painter. Waterloo was among the first artists to have established a reputation almost entirely based upon his work as a draftsman. Oil paintings by Waterloo are relatively scarce, but his many drawings of forest scenes and other topographical views are found in many collections. A landscape artist, Waterloo also produced many etc...
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Jean-Antoine Watteau

borndied
16841721
a French painter whose brief career spurred the revival of interest in colour and movement, as seen in the tradition of Correggio and Rubens. He revitalized the waning Baroque style, shifting it to the less severe, more naturalistic, less formally classical Rococo. Watteau is credited with inventing the genre of fêtes galantes, scenes of bucolic and idyllic...
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Cross-listed in Sculptors

George Frederic Watts

bornactivedied
1817, Feb 231830s-19041904, Jul 1
English Victorian painter and sculptor of the Symbolist movement. Watts became famous in his lifetime for his allegorical works, such as Hope and Love and Life. During his last years Watts also turned to sculpture.
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Jan Weenix

aka: Joannis
borndied
16421719
a Dutch painter. He was trained by his father, Jan Baptist Weenix, together with his cousin Melchior d'Hondecoeter. Like his father, he devoted himself to a variety of subjects, but his fame is chiefly due to his paintings of dead game and of hunting scenes. Many pictures in this genre formerly ascribed to the elder Weenix are now generally considered to be ...
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Jan Baptist Weenix

borndied
16211661
a painter of the Dutch Golden Age. Despite his relatively brief career, he was a very productive and versatile painter. His favourite subjects were Italian landscapes with large figures among ruins, seaside views, and, later in life, large still life pictures of dead game or dogs. He was mainly responsible for introducing the Italian harbour scene into Dutch...
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Cross-listed in Educators

Robert Walter Weir

borndied
18031889
an American artist and educator. He is considered a painter of the Hudson River School. Weir was elected to the National Academy of Design in 1829, and an instructor at the United States Military Academy. His best-known works are The Embarkation of the Pilgrims (in the Rotunda of the United States Capitol at Washington, D.C.) and Landing of Hendrik Hudson.
Links (1)


Jan Weissenbruch

borndied
18221880
a 19th-century Dutch painter. He is known as one of the founders of the Pulchri Studio and made watercolors, etchings and woodcuts as well as paintings, mostly of cityscapes and church interiors. In 1857 he won his first golden medal at an exhibition in the Hague.
Links (1)


Jan Hendrik Weissenbruch

borndied
18241903
a Dutch painter of the Hague School. Weissenbruch's early work showed the strong influence of the romantic painter Andreas Schelfhout. Schelfhout's influence can be seen in Weissenbruch's early landscapes, painted in precise detail. In 1849, two years after Weissenbruch staged his first exhibition, the Teylers Museum in Haarlem acquired one of his panoramic ...
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Friedrich Georg Weitsch

borndied
1758, Aug 81828, May 30
a German painter and etcher. After traveling to Amsterdam and Italy between 1784 and 1787, he returned home and became court painter to Charles William Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick. In 1794 he became a member of the Berlin Academy of Art and became its director in 1798. He married in 1794 and did not have children. His work included landscapes, history and ...
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Johann Friedrich Weitsch

aka: Pacha Weitsch
borndied
17231803
He was the son of a house-tiler, but from his youth had a bent towards art. His having become a sergeant in the army, his colonel once called upon him to copy a few landscapes, which, though his first attempts at painting, were so successful that he thenceforth devoted himself exclusively to art. He pursued oil painting at the same time, and studied from na...
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Gottlieb Welte

aka: Welté
borndied
1745/49, Dec 31792, Dec 17
an etcher and landscape painter from Mainz, Germany. His works, accomplished mostly in small format, represent rococo and transition to early classicism. In Estonia, he painted figural staffages on large Põltsamaa landscapes and depicted Estonian peasants in the 1780s; in Mainz and Frankfurt-am-Main he was known mostly as an etcher and a landscapist. Welté...
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Wen Zhengming

aka: Wen Bi
borndied
1470, Nov 281559
a leading Ming dynasty painter, calligrapher, and scholar. He was regarded as one of the Four Masters of Ming painting. Wen often chose painting subjects of great simplicity, like a single tree or rock. His work often brings about a feeling of strength through isolation, which often reflected his discontent with official life.


Cross-listed in Writers

Wen Zhenheng

borndied
15851645
a Ming dynasty scholar, painter, landscape garden designer, and great grandson of Wen Zhengming, a famous Ming dynasty painter. Wen Zhenheng's best known work Zhang Wu Zhi ("Treatise on Superfluous Things") written between 1620-1627 was an encyclopedic book about garden architecture and interior design.


Cross-listed in Writers

Wen Zhenmeng

borndied
unknownunknown
a late Ming Dynasty painter, calligrapher, scholar, author, and Chinese garden designer. Today, Wen Zhenmeng's artworks sell at the major, international auction houses, including Christie's and Sotheby's.
Links (1)


Benjamin West

bornactivedied
1738, Oct 11746-18201820 , Mar 11
Born in Springfield, PA. He was self-taught, having little formal education and he could barely read or write. Known for his unique style known as Epic Representation, detailed, large scale history paintings. Traveled to Italy, and then to England, painting portraits of the Royal Family. Co-created the Royal Academy of Arts. Died in London.
Timeline (3)Links (16)


Jacob Weyer

aka: Weier
borndied
unknown1670
a 17th-century German painter. Little is known of his life. He was a battle painter influenced by Rembrandt who died in Hamburg in 1670. A battle work by him is in the collection of the National Gallery, London.
Links (1)


Cross-listed in Explorers

John White

bornactivedied
1540 ca1580s1593
an English artist and early pioneer of English efforts to settle North America. He was among those who sailed with Richard Grenville to the shore of present-day North Carolina in 1585, acting as artist and mapmaker to the expedition. Explored Roanoke Island acting as artist-illustrator and surveyor.
Links (1)


Thomas Wijck

borndied
1616 ca1677
a Dutch painter of port views and genre paintings. He excelled in Italianate paintings of shipping and seaports, populated with many figures, very frequently odd characters such as alchemists and misers. His style resembles that of the loose group of Dutch and Flemish genre painters working in Rome who are called the 'Bamboccianti' and were influenced by the...
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Jan Wijnants

borndied
16321684
a Dutch Golden Age painter. Wijnants is primarily known for his Italianate landscapes and paintings featuring topography. The painters Nicolaes de Vree and Adriaen van de Velde trained in his studio and his style later had influence on the English artist, Thomas Gainsborough, the German artist Wilhelm von Kobell, and the Dutch artists Anthonie van Borssom an...
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Jan Wildens

borndied
15951653
a Flemish Baroque painter and draughtsman specializing in landscapes. The compositions of his early landscapes before his stay in Italy were influenced by artists such as Gillis van Coninxloo, Jan Brueghel the Younger, Joos de Momper and Adriaan van Stalbemt. His work in the 1620s and 1630s employed decorative forms, loose compositions and a broad technique ...
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David Wilkie

borndied
17851841
a Scottish painter. In 1804, Wilkie left the Trustees' Academy and returned to Cults. He established himself in the manse there, and began his first important subject-picture, Pitlessie Fair (illustration), which includes about 140 figures, and in which he introduced portraits of his neighbours and of several members of his family circle. Wilkie now turned t...
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Abraham Willaerts

borndied
16031669
a Dutch Baroque painter, mostly of marine and harbor scenes. Willaerts was born in Utrecht, the son of the painter Adam Willaerts. He trained with his father, becoming a member of the Utrecht guild of painters in 1624, and studied under Jan van Bijlert in Utrecht and with Simon Vouet in Paris. From 1638 to 1644 he served in the entourage of Count John Mauri...
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Adam Willaerts

aka: Willarts, Willers
borndied
15771664
a Dutch Golden Age painter. Willaerts was born in London to Flemish parents who had fled from Antwerp for religious reasons. He was known as a painter of river and canal pieces, coastal landscapes, fish-markets, processions, and genre scenes. He also painted villages and marine battle scenes.
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Peter Willebeeck

aka: Peeter Wielebeeck, Peeter van Willebeec
bornactivedied
1618 ca1632-16481648
a Flemish still life painter who was known for his fruit still lifes, vanitas still lives, pronkstillevens and banquet pieces executed in a very delicate manner. Virtually nothing is recorded about Willebeeck's life and training. The only dated work by his hand is a fruit still life dated 1647, which represents a fruit garland around a grisaille bust of Chri...
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Abraham Willemsens

borndied
1607 ca1672
a Flemish painter of history and genre paintings. Details about his early life such as his birth date and place are unknown. It is assumed that he operated a big workshop with a large output to supply the export market. As a result, a large number of his paintings can be found in Spain.
Links (1)


Cross-listed in Writers

William Williams [2]

borndied
17271791, Apr 27
an English/American painter who wrote a novel, The Journal of Llewellin Penrose, Seaman, considered by many to be the first American novel. He began living in Philadelphia around 1747 after time at sea. In Philadelphia he was instrumental in building America's first theater, maintained an art studio at "The Sign of Hogarth's Head" and taught art to a young B...
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Michael Willmann

borndied
1630, Sep 271706, Aug 26
a German painter. The Baroque artist became known as the "Silesian Rembrandt". Willmann became the leading painter of Silesia through his expressiveness, technical dexterity, and speed. Willmann worked on orders from the patriciate of Breslau, as well as churches and monasteries throughout Silesia, Bohemia and Moravia. He received contracts for the Cisterci...
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Richard Wilson

borndied
17131782
an influential British landscape painter, who worked in Britain and Italy. With George Lambert he is recognised as a pioneer in British art of landscape for its own sake and was described in the Welsh Academy Encyclopedia of Wales as the "most distinguished painter Wales has ever produced and the first to appreciate the aesthetic possibilities of his country...
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William Winstanley [2]

bornactivedied
17751793-18061806
an English painter of landscapes and portraits who worked in the United States from the early 1790s until around 1801. On 6 April 1793 George Washington paid Winstanley “for two painting of Views on the North River,” which are now in the collections at Mount Vernon, and in April 1794 he purchased from Winstanley “2 large paintings.”


Cross-listed in Writers

George Winter

borndied
18101876
an English-born American artist who was noted for his portraits of Native Americans and other figures of the American frontier. In addition to Winter’s paintings there is a large manuscript collection of Winter’s papers that has important historic value due to its intimate description of the Wabash Indians. Winter’s first-hand writings about the reloca...
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Willem Wissing

borndied
16561687
a Dutch portrait artist who worked in England. Wissing’s royal sitters include Charles II of England, Catherine of Braganza, George of Denmark and James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth. Many of Wissing's portraits of prominent sitters and his self-portrait were disseminated in mezzotint.
Links (1)


Matthias Withoos

borndied
16271703
a Dutch painter of still lifes and city scenes. Still life paintings by Withoos, like those of his teacher Van Schrieck, are notable for their close-ups of dark and mysterious wild plants and undergrowth inhabited by insects, reptiles and other creatures from the natural world. These paintings, many of which have a vanitas motif, were popular with collectors...
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Artus Wolfordt

borndied
15811641
Born in Antwerp; Died in Antwerp


Victor Wolfvoet the Younger

aka: Victor Wolfvoet II
borndied
16121652
a Flemish art dealer and painter of history and allegorical paintings. His artistic output was heavily influenced by Peter Paul Rubens. Wolfvoet was active as an art dealer, became an artist rather late in life and died relatively young. This explains his fairly limited output.
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Michael Wolgemut

borndied
14341519, Nov 30
a German painter and printmaker, who was born and ran a workshop in Nuremberg. He taught Albrecht Dürer. Wolgemut was a leader among the artists reviving the standards of German woodcut at this time. Two large and copiously illustrated books have woodcuts supplied by Wolgemut and his stepson Wilhelm Pleydenwurff.
Links (1)


John Wollaston

bornactivedied
unknown1742-1775unknown
an English painter of portraits who was active in the British colonies in North America for much of his career. He was one of a handful of painters to introduce the English Rococo style to the American colonies. Wollaston's first securely documented work, executed in 1742, is a portrait of Methodist evangelist George Whitefield; the original still exists, in...
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Pieter Christoffel Wonder

borndied
17801852
a Dutch painter, active in England. Wonder was self-taught, although between 1802 and 1804 he did attend classes at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. In 1807 he established the Kunstliefde (Love of Art) Society in Utrecht together with other artists including Jan Kobell. Wonder primarily painted portraits, although he also painted some interior scenes in imitat...
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Cross-listed in Composers

Robert Woodcock

borndied
1690, Oct1728, Apr 10
an English marine painter, musician, and composer who lived during the Baroque period. He is notable for having published the earliest known flute concertos, and the earliest known English oboe concertos.
Links (1)


Cross-listed in Sculptors

William F. Woodington

bornactivedied
1806, Feb 101825-1870s1893, Dec 24
a notable English painter and sculptor of the 19th century. He exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1825, was appointed curator of the Academy's School of Sculpture in 1851, and was elected an Associate in 1876.
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John Wootton

borndied
1682 ca1764, Nov 13
Born in Warwickshire, England. Painted from about 1714 until his death. He was page to the family of the Dukes of Beaufort, who, in the 1720s sent him to Rome where he acquired classical training. He specialized in sporting subjects (most notably horses and hunting scenes), battle scenes and landscapes, and was quite popular with high society. Died in London...
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Frans Wouters

borndied
16121659
a Flemish Baroque painter who translated the monumental Baroque style of Peter Paul Rubens into the small context of cabinet paintings. Wouters' style and subject matter reflect the taste of his international aristocratic clients who preferred small paintings, decorative landscapes and mythological stories. His style showed initially a resemblance to the lat...
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Philips Wouwerman

borndied
16191668
a Dutch painter of hunting, landscape and battle scenes. Philips Wouwerman was one of the most versatile and prolific artists of the Dutch Golden Age. Embedded in the artistic environment and tradition of his home town of Haarlem, Wouwerman made an important and highly influential contribution to the canon of seventeenth-century Dutch painting. His pictures ...
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John Masey Wright

borndied
17771866
an English watercolour-painter. He was apprenticed to the same business, but, as it proved distasteful to him, he was allowed to follow his natural inclination for art. As a boy he was given the opportunity of watching Thomas Stothard when at work in his studio, but otherwise he was self-taught. About 1810 Wright became associated with Henry Aston Barker, fo...
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John Michael Wright

borndied
16171694
an English (or Scottish) portrait painter in the Baroque style. Wright trained in Edinburgh under the Scots painter George Jamesone, and acquired a considerable reputation as an artist and scholar during a long sojourn in Rome. There he was admitted to the Accademia di San Luca, and was associated with some of the leading artists of his generation. He took u...
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Joseph Wright

borndied
17341797
an English landscape and portrait painter. He has been acclaimed as "the first professional painter to express the spirit of the Industrial Revolution". Wright is notable for his use of Chiaroscuro effect, which emphasises the contrast of light and dark, and for his paintings of candle-lit subjects.
Links (1)


Cross-listed in SculptorsWriters

Patience Wright

bornactivedied
17251770s-17851786, Mar 23
the first recognized American-born sculptor. She chiefly created wax figures of people. She loved to write poetry and was also a painter. She was patronized by George III, and sculpted him and other members of British royalty and nobility, but fell from royal favor because of her open support for the colonial cause during the American Revolution. She sculpte...
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Moyses van Wtenbrouck

borndied
1595 ca1647
a Dutch Golden Age painter and etcher. Van Uyttenbroeck was born and died in The Hague. According to the RKD he was the younger brother of the painter Jan Matheus van Wtenbrouck, and later became the teacher of the painters Anthonie Jansz. van der Croos and perhaps Dirk Dalens the Elder, since their styles were so similar. Van Uyttenbroeck primarily painted ...
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Joachim Wtewael

borndied
15661638
a Dutch Mannerist painter and draughtsman, as well as a highly successful flax merchant, and town councillor of Utrecht. Wtewael was one of the leading Dutch exponents of Northern Mannerism, and his distinctive and attractive style remained largely untouched by the naturalistic developments happening around him, "characterized by masterfully drawn, highly po...
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Peter Wtewael

borndied
15961660
a Dutch Golden Age painter. Wtewael was born in Utrecht, son of the Dutch painter and engraver Joachim Wtewael and brother to the painter Johan Wtewael. According to the RKD he is known as a follower of Caravaggio. He specialized in painting kitchen scenes and mythological figures. Wtewael died in 1660. One of his works is displayed at the Metropolitan Museu...
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Abraham Wuchters

borndied
16101682
a Dutch-Danish painter and engraver. He was born in Antwerp but had most of his career in Denmark where he, along with Karel van Mander III, was the preferred painter of the Danish King, nobility and Bourgeoisie during his day, together they represent the main influence from the Dutch Golden Age on Danish Baroque art.
Links (1)


Cross-listed in Sculptors

Matthew Cotes Wyatt

bornactivedied
17771805-1850s1862, Jan 3
a painter and sculptor and a member of the Wyatt family, who were well known in the Victorian era as architects and sculptors. Son of James Wyatt, the architect.
Links (1)


Jan Wyck

aka: Wiyck, Wick
borndied
16441702
a Dutch baroque painter, best known for his works on military subjects. There are still over 150 of his works known to be in existence. In an era when French artists dominated the genre, the arrival of Wyck and other Dutch and Flemish artists in Great Britain from 1660 onwards provided the catalyst for the development of military and naval art in Britain.
Links (1)

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