VAN VEEN, OTno (called also OTTOVENI110, an eminent painter, was a native of Leyden. of which city his father was a wealthy burgomaster. The exact year of his birth is involved in some obscurity; but there seems tolerable evidence to fix it as about 1556-57. He received a careful education, and in aid of the natural talent lie displayed for drawing, the best masters were procured him. When about 15 years old he was sent to Liege, whence, after a residence of three years, he proceeded to Rome, where he became a pupil of the celebrated Zucchero. In Italy lie remained about eight years; and on his return home by way of Vienna, the emperor, by tempting offers, vainly endeavored to detain him in his service. It is significant of the estimation in which lie hal come to be held as an artist, that on his passing through Munich and Cologne, similar offers were pressed upon him. These also, however, he declined, wishing to settle in his native country. Finally, he went to reside at Brussels, as painter to the famous Alexander Farnese, duke of Parma, and then governor of the Spanish Nether lands, of whom he executed a masterly portrait in armor, which greatly increased his reputation. The duke having died, he established himself at Antwerp, and opened an academy, at which the great Rubens was one of his pupils. In the matured art of
Rubens, traces of his master are still, it is thought, to be detected; and in particular, lie is held to have in all probability derived from him that fondness for allegorical and emblematic subjects which possessed him not, always to his advantage. On the occasion of the entry into Antwerp of the new governor, the archduke Albert of Austria, Van Veen was employed to design the arches and the other decorative business of the ceremonial, and so pleased was the duke with the taste and invention displayed, that he appointed him master of the mint at Brussels, to which city he returned to reside. An invitation to Paris was subsequently sent him by Louis XIII., but this he saw fit to decline; and in Brussels, at the age of 78, he died.
The chief works of Van Veen are religious pictures for churches. In the cathedrals of Leyden, Antwerp, and Bruges, good specimens may be found. On their own account they deserve attention; but it is chiefly as "the work of a man who had the honor to be the master of Rubens" (to quote the words of Reynolds), that they now for the most part receive it.