Jacob van der Ulft

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Jacob van der Ulft
Jacob van der Ulft - oude stadhuis Amsterdam 1653-6.jpg
Old City Hall of Amsterdam before the fire in 1652. Copy after Pieter Jansz Saenredam.
Born 1621
Died November 18, 1689(1689-11-18) (aged 68)
Nationality Dutch
Known for Landscape painting
Movement Baroque

Jacob van der Ulft (1621–1689) was a Dutch Golden Age landscape painter, architect, and mayor.


He was registered in Gorinchem during the years 1652-1683, according to the RKD. In 1658 he is registered as making sketches of heraldic shields for the city of Gorinchem, and in 1659 he is mentioned in a notarized document as being a painter and an architect. In 1679 he fled to The Hague for a short period due to accusations of corruption, and in 1683 he left Gorinchem definitely for Noordwijk, where he later died.[1]

According to Houbraken he was the son of the mayor of Gorinchem, and he became the best glass painter of his century, who went to great trouble to reinvent the techniques of Dirk Crabeth and his brother Wouter. Gorinchem and the surrounding towns all had examples of his stained glass work. Houbraken goes on to write that despite this talent and becoming mayor of Gorinchem himself, Ulft would go down in history for his own contributions to art in the area of oil painting and engraving old ruins, showing each crack and cranny. He painted many Italianate landscapes with monuments and triumphal arches, but these were based on Italianate prints, because according to Houbraken he had never been to Italy.[2]

Whalebone from island "Waiigats", meaning windy hole, the island named by Jan Huyghen van Linschoten on his trip to Novaya Zemlya with Willem Barentsz.

Ulft's painting of the old city hall of Amsterdam shows the whalebone hanging from the vierschaar (courtroom) given to the city by Willem Barentsz. A similar whalebone still hangs in the Haarlem City Hall. This painting, highly detailed and populated with townspeople in all manner of dress and occupation, was enough to keep his name famous for centuries, according to Houbraken.[2]


  1. ^ Jacob van der Ulft in the RKD
  2. ^ a b (Dutch) Jacob van der Ulft biography in De groote schouburgh der Nederlantsche konstschilders en schilderessen (1718) by Arnold Houbraken, courtesy of the Digital library for Dutch literature