Jacob van Strij was one of the many famous painters from the Middle Ages forward of Dordrecht, the oldest city and ancient capital of Holland. Also well known was his brother, Abraham van Strij.
Like his brother, Abraham, Jacob learned to paint from his father Leendert van Strij (1728-1798). From 1774 he also studied two years at the Academy in Antwerp and then with Antwerp history painter, Andreas Lens (1739-1822).
In 1781 Jacob returned to Dordrecht where he became known as an excellent landscape painter in the spirit of Aelbert Cuyp. He imitated Cuyp's smooth color palette and paint area and competed with him in the composition of the landscape. Sometimes van Strij copied Cuyp's paintings in detail, but usually only on certain grounds. He was often accused to be a slavish imitator or forger of Cuyp. Among his subjects were forested and seasonal landscapes including snow scenes, and fortress-like old structures of Dordrecht such as the city gates. The Dordrecht Museum has many of his paintings.
As Jacob van Strij developed his own talents, he became increasingly removed from his seventeenth century predecessors and more anticipatory of Romanticism. He did a series reflecting travels around Holland and to Italy. In his later landscapes van Strij often used for his trees a striking yellow-green. Besides a large number of summer landscapes, he also painted a few winter scenes such as Great Church of Dordrecht.
With his brother Abraham, Jacob van Strij painted a series of five chamber wall spreads for an unknown client in Dordrecht. These wall systems were for a long time no longer in their original place, and in May 2005, they were put separately by the owner into the auction market. However, at the last moment the Dordrechts Museum purchased the whole series, with the intention of exhibiting them together.
Only very few complete or almost complete sets by the brothers Abraham and Jacob have survived, one of which, a set of seven, is now in the Dordrechts Museum, Dordrecht, and another set of five is in the Haags Gemeentemuseum, The Hague. Wall-hangings became very popular in the second half of the 18th century, when several factories in Amsterdam were established producing these wall-hangings for the canal houses. The workshop of the Strij brothers also produced wall-hangings which are often signed by only one artist. However, in most cases the hand of both painters can be seen.
Online, "Famous Dutch Painters from Dordrecht, Holland's Oldest City"