* 1610 Dieppe
† 1652 Amsterdam
Next to Pieter van Laer and Jan Baptist Weenix, January Asselijn counts among the most important representatives of second generation of Dutch artists working in an italianizing style.
Jan Asselijn (Jan Asselyn ) was born in Dieppe around the year 1610. From there the family moved to Amsterdam, presumably as early as in 1621. In the Dutch capital Jan Asselijn received training as a painter: it is very likely that Janus Asselein completed his apprenticeship in the studio of Jan de Jonghe Martszen, a nephew of Esaias van de Velde.
As it was common for Dutch Baroque, the young painter initially specialized in a particular subject: He mainly painted pictures of cavalry battles in which he showed his mastery in creating a dense atmosphere in earthen tones. However, it was Jan Asselyn's expanding range of themes that was particularly groundbreaking about his art: He and idyllic illuminated landscapes in the style of Herman van Swanevelt, animal scenes and seascapes, appealing hunting scenes, Arcadian pastoral scenes, grotto pictures, night scenes, coarse and humorous genre pieces and also Bambocciatini in the tradition of Pieter van Laer. In addition, Jan Asselyn was a virtuoso draftsman who left behind an oeuvre of numerous significant sheets.
Most of these works were made during or after a trip to Italy: Soon after the middle of the 1630s the young January Asselijn set out for Rome. In the infamous group "Schildersbent", Janus Asselein (Jean Asselin) met many fellow painters and was jokingly called "Krabbetje".
Jan Asselijn did not return to Amsterdam before the mid- 1640s, there is also proof for activities in Paris for the year 1646. He gave Gabriel Perelle commission to execute three series of copper engravings each with six sheets showing Roman ruins. Back in Amsterdam, Janus Asselyn introduced the italianizing image type in his home country, pointing the direction for artists such as Nicolaes Berchem, Allaert van Everdingen, Willem Schellinks or Karel Dujardin.
In 1652, just a few months after he had acquired local civil rights, the still young family father Jan Asselijn died of a serious illness in Amsterdam.