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Adam van Breen

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Adam van Breen
Born 1585
Died 1642
Spouse(s) Maria Gelle
  • Painter
  • Engraver
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"); the first printing included Dutch, French, and German editions, with descriptions and commentary by an anonymous author. The structure and format of the treatise is strongly reminiscent of Wapenhandelinghe van Roers Musquetten ende Spiessen by Jacob de Gheyn II, and could possibly have been intended as an addendum to Gheyn's work.

In this concordance, the text of 1625 English publication has been placed in the first transcription column, owing to the fact that a modernized English version has not yet been produced from one of the original languages. (Unfortunately, the Bodleian Library's copy, from which this transcription was made, is missing several pages.) The text of the other languages has been rearranged to match the English where applicable, but can be read in its original order on the transcription pages.

Additional Resources


  1. I do not yet know the abbreviation, but "Mat." is also used in the Dutch transciption and the trascriber typed out "Majesteit" or Majesty.
  2. I found several print references to an Arnoult Meuris in the 1600s at the Hague. I believe this is likely him
  3. Lit. "From the top of the head until the flat of the feet."
  4. Lit. "From aiming at a straight path but will be a path of force."
  5. Likely Justus Lipsius, a Flemish philosopher who died before this was published.
  6. Aeneid III
  7. The searchable title is "Paraeneses antiquae germanicae tyrolis regis scotorum ad filium fridebrantum."
  8. Translated by Chidester with much context provided by snrgl.
  9. Probably could be better read as "step" rather than "time."
  10. A specifically designed opening within the walls of a city to allow passage. Could also be translated as "gate" or "door".
  11. A type of 16th-17th century helmet.
  12. The Bodleian Library copy, which was the basis of this transcription, is torn off at the fold, so half of the text is missing.