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Adam van Breen

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Adam van Breen
Born 1585
Died 1642
Spouse(s) Maria Gelle
  • Painter
  • Printmaker
Nationality Dutch
Genres Drill manual
Notable work(s) De Nassavsche Wapen-Handelinge van
Schilt, Spies, Rappier end Targe
Concordance by Michael Chidester

Adam van Breen (Amsterdam, 1585 - Norway, after 1642) was a Dutch artist from the Golden Age. Van Breen was born in 1585, most likely in Amsterdam, and specialized in winter landscapes. He was married in The Hague on 13 February, 1611, to Maertje Castel. In 1612, he became a member of the Guild of Saint Luke (the painter's guild), which membership lasted until 1621. After he went bankrupt in Amsterdam in 1624, he left for Oslo but returned to Amsterdam in 1628. In 1636, he left for Norway again, where he helped decorate the Akershus Castle among other things. He stayed in Norway until his death, some time after 1642. Van Breen was influenced by Hendrick Avercamp and David Vinckboons, he was possibly a pupil of one of them.

HEMA Contributions

In 1617, van Breen created a series of prints illustrating militia drill with the pike and shield, and the sword and shield. They were published in 1618 in the Hague, Netherlands, by Aert Meuris under the title De Nassavsche Wapen-Handelinge van Schilt, Spies, Rappier end Targe ("On the Weapon-Handling of Nassau with Shield, Spear, Rapier, and Target"); also included were anonymous commentary in Dutch, French, and German editions.

Because an English translation has not yet been produced from one of the original languages, the text of 1625 English publication has been placed in the first transcription column. (Unfortunately, the Bodleian Library's copy, from which this transcription was made, is missing several pages.)

Additional Resources


  1. The Bodleian Library copy, which was the basis of this transcription, is torn off at the fold, so half of the text is missing.