Jacob Vrel

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Street scene, ca. 1660

Jacob Vrel (fl. (c.1630–c.1680)[citation needed] was a Dutch, Flemish, or Westphalian painter of interiors and urban street scenes during the Dutch Golden Age (1588-1672). He was active from 1654–1662.[1]


Jacob Vrel is also referred to as Jan instead of Jacob(us); alternative spellings of his surname are Frel, Frelle, Vreele, Vrelle, and Vriel.[2] Though Vrel's birthplace is unknown, scholars consider him a Dutch artist.[1] He is considered to have worked in Delft and Haarlem.[citation needed]

Despite the many architectural elements, bread products or clothing of the figures in his paintings, art historians are unable to assign most of Vrels Street scenes to any particular city or region. As of 2021, two experts have recognized streets and buildings of the Dutch city of Zwolle, not far from the German border in three pictures.[3]: 30 


According to the Netherlands Institute for Art History (Dutch RKD-Nederlands Instituut voor Kunstgeschiedenis), Vrel was a member of the same "school" or artistic style as Pieter de Hooch, showing simple intimate scenes of daily life in towns, often including studies in perspective. Though no evidence for a specific "school" exists, the center of influence seems to have been in the artistic centers of Haarlem and Delft, for artists born during the years 1620–1630. The painters listed by the RKD in this category are Esaias Boursse, Hendrick van der Burgh, Pieter de Hooch, Pieter Janssens Elinga, Cornelis de Man, Hendrick ten Oever, and Jacob Vrel.[4]

Vrels works are sometimes confused with those by Esaias Boursse[2] or Pieter de Hooch.[5] Vrel often painted his signature on a strip of paper or cloth in his painting, reminiscent of medieval banners or scrolls.[3]


Thirty-eight[6] to forty[7] paintings have been attributed to Vrel.

Young Woman in an Interior, ca. 1660. National Gallery of Art, Washington.

The following public collections hold Vrel´s work in their permanent collections:

late 2020, a retrospective exhibition opened curated by Berndt Ebert of the Alte Pinakothek. The first monographic exhibition on Vrel will be shown in 2023 at the Fondation Custodia in Paris and the Mauritshuis in The Hague.[9]


  1. ^ a b "Jacobus Vrel (Dutch, active 1654 - 1662) (Getty Museum)". The J. Paul Getty in Los Angeles. n.d. Retrieved 2021-11-09.
  2. ^ a b Jacob Vrel in the RKD
  3. ^ a b spur (2021). "Vrel? Eine Spurensuche. Entdeckerheft" (PDF). Alte Pinakothek.
  4. ^ Genre De Hooch school in the RKD
  5. ^ Slive, Seymour (1995). Dutch Painting 1600–1800. New Haven: Yale University Press. p. 158. ISBN 0300074514.
  6. ^ Honig, Elizabeth Alice (1996). "Vrel, Jacobus". In Turner, Jane (ed.). The Dictionary of Art. Vol. 32. London: Macmillan. p. 728. ISBN 1884446000.
  7. ^ Bakker, Piet. Wheelock, Arthur K. Jr. (ed.). "Jacobus Vrel". The Leiden Collection Catalogue. Retrieved 15 December 2019.
  8. ^ "Jacobus Vrel: Major New Acquisition for the Alte Pinakothek". CODART. n.d. Retrieved 2021-11-09.
  9. ^ "Jacobus Vrel, 13 October 2020–10 January 2021". CODART. 26 July 2019. Retrieved 15 December 2019.


  • Théophile Thoré. "Van der Meer de Delft." Gazette des beaux-arts [suppl. is Chron. A.] 21 (1866): 458–470.
  • Clotilde Brière-Misme. "Un 'Intimiste' hollandais: Jacob Vrel." Revue de l’art ancien et moderne 68 (1935): 97–114, 157–172.
  • Gérard Regnier. "Jacob Vrel, un Vermeer du pauvre." Gazette des beaux-arts [suppl. is Chron. A.] n.s. 6, 71 (1968): 269–282.
  • Peter Sutton, ed. Masters of Seventeenth-Century Dutch Genre Painting (exh. cat. Philadelphia Museum of Art; Gemäldegalerie, Berlin; Royal Academy, London, 1984): 352–354.
  • Elizabeth Honig: "Looking in(to) Jacob Vrel." Yale Journal of Criticism 3, no. 1 (Fall, 1989): 37–56.

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