David Colijns was born in Rotterdam but spent his complete career in the Dutch metropolis of Amsterdam.
Representations of Noah’s Ark served as an excuse to paint numerous animals heading towards the ship.
Many 17th century painters used different spellings for their proper name.
Colijns used “Colijns”, “Colyns”, “Colijn” and “Celijns”.
About David Colijns
Rotterdam circa 1582 – 1664/1666 Amsterdam
Painter of landscapes, genre, history and church interior scenes. Best known for his biblical scenes.
It is not known whom Colijns studied under, but it must probably have been his father, Crispiaen Colijns, who was also a painter. David’s father originally came from Mechelen in Flanders. Being a Protestant he had fled to Rotterdam in Holland the persecution by the Spanish of Flemish Catholics.
The famous history and portrait painter Salomon Koninck (1609 – 1656) was a pupil of our David Colijns, as was Jacob I Koninck (1614/16 – after 1690), a lesser-known painter of landscapes and of portraits.
Colijns is documented as being active in Amsterdam from 1606 until his death around 1665. He held several functions in the local Painter’s Guild.
Already in 1607 Colijns was one of the buyers inscribed at the sale of paintings in Amsterdam of the late Gillis van Coninxloo II, the famous painter of wooded landscapes.
Colijns married in Amsterdam in 1613.
Around 1635/1640 he painted the monumental scenes from the life of King David that served as shutters for the organ of the Nieuwezijdse Chapel of Amsterdam. Today they have a prominent place in the Catharijneconvent Museum of Utrecht.
Colijns was also active as staffage painter; he painted the figures in landscapes by Gillis de Hondecoeter, Govaert and Jochem Camphuysen.
About the subject of our painting, Noah’s Ark
God, who was unhappy with man’s misbehaviour, was determined at first to destroy all humans and all life on earth. Finally God ordered Noah to build a huge vessel in which he would spare Noah, his family and a pair of each species of animals. A world-engulfing flood destroyed all other life on earth. After the deluge the world could be repopulated.
Colijns has painted in the left background a huge ship in which Noah’s family and pairs of animals are boarding before the devastating flood.
“Animals entering Noah’s Ark” is one of the so-called Paradisiacal subjects of 17th century painting: compositions holding a lot of animals.
The others are:
- Adam and Eve in Paradise;
- Orpheus charming the animals;
- Milo of Crotona.
About our painting
Colijns’ paintings are rare (less than 30 are known) and only half of them are signed. He signed with “Colijns”, “Colyns”, “Colijn” and “Celijns”.
His animal scenes stand close to those of Jacob Savery I (Courtrai circa 1565/67 – 1603 Amsterdam), who was the elder brother and master of Roelant Savery. Jacob died prematurely during a plague epidemic.
Why should you buy this painting?
Because, together with representations of the Tower of Babel, it is one of the greatest Old Testamentary subjects of painting in the Low Countries; a must in every collection.