VUE A MAASLIN
Etch by Jongkind: Vue de Maaslin, 1862
Jongkind's "View of Maassluis from the Sluispoldermolen", also known the 'Wippersmolen', was drawn up in his first sketchbook. He reproduced this scene during a period of three decades, resulting in various colourings, etchings and paintings. Below an overview of the various variations of Jongkinds hand. Noticable is that he mainly plays with the figures iceskating.
The forerunner of etching, engraving, originated around 1400 from the armouries in Europe. In these workshops, gunsmiths used sharp chisels to decorate armour and weapons. When the engraving was ready, it was filled with a black enamel, nielo, and a wet sheet of paper was placed over it. The relief was partially absorbed by the paper, creating a mirror image of the engraving. This print was used for one purpose only: it served as a sample of the gunsmith's craftsmanship. Such prints were good advertising material to attract new customers. It is therefore not surprising that engraving as a reproduction technique found its origin in these gunsmiths, as the technique used was very similar. It was only in the 16th century that printers began to use the process.
During the period of the development of engraving, it was discovered that metal reacted with an acid or a base, thereby corroding the metal. This gave rise to the etching technique, which was also increasingly used in book printing.
In the 17th century, night scenes were already a speciality of Dutch graphic artists. Rembrandt, too, excelled in this area. He produced genre prints, scenes from everyday life, some of which are set in the darkness of the night.
We know that Jongkind visited the Night Watch; it was on a 'to-do list' in his notes for his trips to the Netherlands when he lived in France.
From etch to impressionistic strokes
The loose touch that Rembrandt shows in his self-portraits and etchings, Jongkind starts to show in his landscapes. Gradually you see that planes are no longer used but that everything is built up from keys, dashes. He also started using this technique in his paintings, creating a lively effect. Would having used etching as a technique as well as walking along the water and seeing it shimmer in all its colours have formed Jongkinds eye and technique which found roots in France with the young painters and developed into impressionsim? We can only make educated guesses about what contributed in hindsight, and probably Jongkind himslef wouldnt be able to explain it either..
In his moon paintings, which he made a lot around Overschie, he combines these two typically Dutch things: the loose sketchy painting style, which made his moon landscapes dramatically lively, and the landscapes with low horizons and large clouds and the water where reflections and light have free play.
Drawing by Jongkind 1860
Painting by Jongkind: Vue de Maaslin, 1843
Painting by Jongkind: Vue de Maaslin, 1862
Painting by Jongkind: Vue de Maaslin, 1866