HENDRICK VERSCHURING (Gorkum 1627– Dordrecht 1690)
Travelers at Rest alongside Classical Ruins
signed and dated H. Verschuring fecit A° 1663 in the lower center foreground
oil on canvas
26 x 36 ½ inches (66 x 92.7 cm.)
Private Collection, Brussels
Private Collection, South Carolina
Private Collection, New Jersey, 2000 until the present time
Bathed in golden light, set in an idyllic mountainous river landscape, a group of travelers are at rest in the central foreground. Bordered by bodies of water on both sides they are backed by a monumental capriccio comprised of Roman fortifications, bridges, a monument and archways. The scene abounds with the life of an Italian village. Horses are being watered, dogs idle or romp in the sunshine, sheep and goats rest on grass in the shadow of the ruins, while a herd of cattle are driven across the expanse of the bridge to the right. Further along in the distance a large Romanesque fortress looms over the riverbank. Behind the bridge on the left is a large inn that fronts a soaring mountain peak. The work’s expansive sense of space has been created by the employment of a diagonal band of shade in the foreground that acts as a repoussoir countered by the use of contre-jour lighting.
Hendrick Verschuring is regarded as a Bambocciata painter, a label given to him and other Northern compatriots that include Jan Baptist Weenix, Michael Sweerts, Karel Dujardin and Anton Goubau. The group specialized in Italianate landscapes created from invented settings of ports, courtyards and streets. According to Arnold Houbraken in De Groote Schouburgh der Nederlantsche Konstschilders en Schilderessen (1718-1721), Verschuring, the son of an army officer, began his studies with Dirck Govaertsz. a portrait painter in Gorinchem (Gorkum). From the ages of 13-19 he was a pupil of Jan Both in Utrecht. Afterwards he traveled to Italy to complete his studies and stayed there until 1656 when he returned to Gorinchem.
His earliest known works date from 1651. He painted Italianate landscapes, cavalry battles and camp life, hunting scenes, animal subjects, Dutch beach scenes as well as some portraits and genre. He also did some etchings. It has been recorded that Philips Wouwerman occasionally painted the horses in Verschuring’s works. Verschuring painted staffage for the forest landscapes of Pieter-Jansz van Asch. He lived in Gorinchem his entire life and at one point was its mayor, throughout enjoying a very prosperous career. Unfortunately he died in a storm at sea near Dordrecht on April 26, 1690.
Works by Hendrick Verschuring formed part of the permanent collections of the museums of Amsterdam; Braunschweig; Bremen; Bucharest; Cape Town; Chicago; Edinburgh; Gratz; Haarlem; The Hague; Leeuwarden; Leipzig; London; Montreal; Nantes; Norfolk and Richmond, Virginia; Stuttgart and Trieste among others.
 Laura Laureati, “Johannes Lingelbach” in The Bamboccianti, Ugo Bozzi Editore, Rome, 1983, p. 259.
 Biographical information taken from John Denison Champlin, Jr. and Charles C. Perkins, eds., “Hendrik Verschuring” in Cyclopedia of Painters and Paintings, volume IV, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1900, pp. 360-1; “Hendrik Verschuringh” in Bryan’s Dictionary of Painters and Engravers, volume V, Kennikat Press, Inc., Port Washington, N.Y., 1903-4, p. 293; Walther Bernt, “Henrick Verschuring” in The Netherlandish Painters of the Seventeenth Century, volume III, Praeger Publishers Inc., N.Y., 1970, p. 127; Neil MacLaren & Christopher Brown, “Henrick Verschuring 1627-1690” in The Dutch School 1600-1900, volume I, National Gallery Publications Limited, The National Gallery, London, 1991, p. 470; and Hans Fransen, “Hendrick Verschuring” in Michaelis Collection, The Old Town House, Cape Town, Waanders Uitgevers, Zwolle, 1996, p. 152.