and praised: the very fact that some of Willem Hofhuizen’s critics
went to great lengths to point out that his unique style was
in fact a mixture of styles from the past, or that he had a
“preoccupation with nudes”, indicates that they felt uncomfortable
with their assessment, to say the least. It is curious to see
how the essence of Hofhuizen’s work eluded many of his contemporaries.
Some critics even called him a mannerist.
brief explanation is in order here. Mannerism is a late-renaissance
movement (1550-1580) whose proponents sought to create dramatic
and dynamic effects by depicting humans and animals with elongated
forms and in exaggerated, out-of-balance poses. Even Michelangelo
has been called a Mannerist – indeed, a number of his sculptures
feature horses or human figures that seem to be on the verge
of losing their balance. Mannerism was an exciting new development
at a time when the primary purpose of art was to inspire awe
if you look at Hofhuizen’s works, the first thing that strikes you is
that his paintings are static. It is really very simple. Elongated forms,
yes, but only for the sake of added gracefulness. Call it gothicism,
if you will, but not mannerism.
– Willem Hofhuizen was widely regarded as a true master in the use of
colors. One critic called his paintings “Mozartian color symphonies”,
and he was also praised for his extremely delicate brushstrokes and
for “sublimating classicist elements into a contemporary style”.
are just a few examples of what Hofhuizen’s contemporaries had to say
about him. They present a mixed picture. But we have the benefit of
hindsight, and that is why we have created this interactive web document
in which we will try to explain the background to Willem Hofhuizen’s
style, emotions and development. Time will tell whether Hofhuizen’s
art is truly monumental and whether it will secure itself an important
place in art history.
we hope this web document will help to give his work the place it deserves.
We also hope it will give the viewer a better understanding of the man
behind the artist. After all, Willem Hofhuizen's paintings reflect his
inner world, in which man (more specifically, the archetypal woman)
plays a dominant role. In many of his paintings he is one of the onlookers
at the scene, looking over other people's shoulders and satisfied with
what he sees. It is his world, which he depicts in his own characteristic
manner, in which the transparency of materials plays a major role.