Among his contemporaries, Philips Köninck (also Coning, Coningh, Coningh, Koning, Konnink) was known as a figure painter, specializing in portraits, genre and religious scenes. Strange enough, nowadays he is known and praised as a landscape-painter.
Philips was born in Amsterdam, the son of a successful goldsmith, and trained in the studio of his brother Jacob, a painter, who taught him from 1639 to 1641 in Rotterdam. Subsequently he returned to Amsterdam, where he lived for the rest of his life. Köninck was a wealthy man, owning a company, which operated horse-drawn passenger barges between Rotterdam and Amsterdam. He seems to have been a friend rather than a pupil of Rembrandt but he was certainly influenced by the great master in his manner of rendering biblical subjects.
Köninck’s landscapes are characterized by a high viewpoint and a sky, which occupies at least half of the picture space. They are cloudscapes as much as extensive landscapes. Wide stretches of flat or slightly hilly land under a great expanse of sky are the realistic view of Holland. Waterways and paths intersect the land; houses are dotted in the foreground. These landscapes were mostly carried out in warm, brown-yellow tones.
The landscape with a high sky was particularly in favor in the 1650s and 1660s, not only in the work of Köninck, but also in that of Jacob van Ruisdael and also in the etched landscapes of Rembrandt.
1651. Oil on canvas. Sammlung Reinhart, Winterthur, Switzerland.