Hendrik Voodg was born in Amsterdam in 1766, where he trained at the Municipal Academy of Drawing. Having obtained a scholarship from the Haarlem Society of Sciences in 1788, he left for Rome, which was to become his adopted city. He immediately introduced himself to the community of Nordic painters, including Johann Martin von Rohden, with whom he travelled to his Roman compañía to gain impressions from life.
A Dutch Vedutist in Rome: the Roman countryside and 17th century models
In the last years of the 18th century, Voodg became the interpreter of a classical-style landscape painting, decidedly faithful to the models of the ideal 17th century view of Lorrain, Poussin and Dughet, as can be seen in the Italian Landscape with Pine Trees, sent to Amsterdam in 1795. Meanwhile, he also worked on some preparatory drawings for the last series of etchings by Giovanni Volpato.
Remaining in Rome even during the Napoleonic years of the Roman Republic of 1798-99, the Dutch painter fully established himself among the city’s most sought-after vedutists. A frequent visitor to the international and local community of artists at the Caffè Greco, he created a personal network of acquaintances that allowed him to continue living in Rome even without a scholarship: he opened a drawing and painting school for foreign patrons, becoming a veritable point of reference for Dutch and Flemish collectors.
Success among Nordic collectors: luministic sensibility and pre-Romantic suggestions
Soon, together with Martin Verstappen, he began to be regarded as the Nordic landscape painter of reference in Rome, mainly due to his strong sensitivity in handling light. His landscapes dedicated to Rome and the Latium countryside, but also the Gulf of Naples, initially fully comply with the canon of detailed and optically precise landscape painting.
Moreover, he is noted as the last Dutch lithographer in Rome, active in the execution of engravings dedicated to the Roman countryside and also in passing on the secrets of this technique to young pupils. Well versed in the rendering of nocturnes, Hendrik Voodg, at the beginning of the 19th century, seems to have moved on to the very first Romantic suggestions, moving from an ideal view to a more present realism, as can be seen in the Roman Landscape in Twilight, a sensibility that was fully developed in the 1920s. In the fascinating view of Fishermen in Naples in the Moonlight of 1826, the absolute protagonist is the opaline effect of the moonlight peeping through the clouds to illuminate the work of the nocturnal fishermen pulling their nets. Appointed an academician of merit at San Luca and knight in 1834 by Pope Gregory XVI, he died in Rome in 1839.