Houbraken Translated

RKD STUDIES

Volume 2, page 90-99


Page 90

or practicing the art of the brush with great diligence and desire. That is also why we have placed his portrait, painted in detail by himself in 1647 [1], in his 34th year, in Plate C. 4.

He was a pupil of David Teniers I, as is clearly evident from his earliest brushworks, and of Willem Buytewech I, who painted companies of damsels, gentlemen and farmers. Still he did not always stick to this way of painting. With his nephew HENDRIK SORGH, dealer and lover of painting in Amsterdam, I have seen several art works by him, and two in particular. The one depicts an Italian market, with much bustle of figures and in front a woman who sets out several kinds of dead birds. The other depicts a fish market, also full of bustle [2]. The fish in this, and a basket full of living fowl, ducks etc. in the other work, are painted elaborately and skilfully after life. In addition the figures, terrain and background have something of the handling of Thomas Wijck. There is also a large work hanging there in which is depicted a peasant celebration, in which the figures are large and show a great similarity to the handling of Jan Miense Molenaer.

He died in 1682 in his 61st year, the ball of his life’s thread having been unwound by the fate of time.

Now also appears our Gouda resident JOHANNES ADRIAENSZ. DUIF, pupil of Wouter Crabeth II. He was a skilled and good painter of portraits. In his time he painted the Franciscan Gregorius Simpernel after his death [3], which succeeded well and therefore brought him great advantage,

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1
Hendrick Martensz. Sorgh
Self portrait van an Hendrick Martensz. Sorgh (c. 1609/11-1670), dated 1645
panel, oil paint 32 x 25 cm
Private collection

2
Hendrick Martensz. Sorgh
View on a fish market, c. 1649-1650
panel, oil paint 47,5 x 65 cm
location unknown : M. Sorgh
Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, inv./cat.nr. SK-C-227


3
Johannes Adriaensz. Duif
Portrait of Gregorius Simpernel (....-1649), 1649
panel, oil paint 41 x 35 cm
Gouda, Museum Gouda, inv./cat.nr. 552


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not from those who had him paint it but because he painted a whole lot for his friends and acquaintances. Owing to this insight he painted the first portrait free of charge, thinking that this dead one would lead to many living ones, as also happened. He died of a rapid stroke in Gouda in the year 1649. And his fellow student JAN GOVERTSZ. VERBIJL followed him on the road to eternity, as also did his diligent fellow student AERT van WAES. He had visited Italy and France and having returned to Gouda to see the fruit of his labour, died a few months after the first-mentioned fellow striver in art. He composed and painted pleasant peasant scenes. He had also learned etching with the plate cutter Reinier van Persijn and let various prints of his naughty jokes appear. One still sees various drawings of his done in pencil.

Around this time and from the same school, and fellow artist and townsman of the afore-mentioned ones, DIRK MEERKERK was born in the former brewery of the Passer at the beginning of the Keyzerstraat. He travelled to Rome for his art and lived there and with the Bishop of Nantes for many years. Arriving unknown and unannounced at his parental home, he asked how their son was doing and whether they had heard from him recently or expected him home, which still would not have made them suspicious, until his mother’s nose tweaked and she was therefore the first to recognize him. But a short while after he had returned home, coming from a funeral, he fell in the water at the Lange Brug,

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not far from his parental home, and drowned. And just as according to the proverb one accident follows on another, so it happened, for CORNELIS de VISSCHER I, the time, city and art companion of them all and a good painter (whose work is praised, although he was often tortured by his head as if, as is commonly said, he had lost hold of it), coming from Hamburg drowned at sea.

It would be inexcusable, since we have now on several occasions brought old-time Gouda painters on stage, not to commemorate

JACOB REYERSZ. BLOCK, even though his birth and death dates remain unknown to us, since it is known that the great Peter Paul Rubens (when he travelled through the Dutch cities to visit painters) was also specifically in his shop in Gouda and attested to his credit that he had not found one among all of the artists in the Netherlands who was his equal in the painting and drawings of perspective and architecture.

In his youth he had visited Italy and Rome and practiced his art with diligence. And since he also understood fortification architecture, he entered the service of Sigismund III, King of Poland, who liked him exceptionally well, but that was at once the reason his courtiers hated him, and in every way (as people say) tripped him up, which is he why he asked to depart and leave for his fatherland, where he got the opportunity to teach mathematics to the lieutenant colonel Pieter de Perceval (who was highly esteemed by Prince Frederik Hendrik).

Later he entered the service of Duke

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Leopold Wilhelm von Österreich, who also particularly liked him and who, above his usual pay, being in the field, sent seven guilders his way. Near Sint-Winoksbergen [= Bergues] (wanting to cross a plank) Block's horse stumbled, so that he took an unfortunate fall to the ground. He was brought to the city and, at the command of the Duke, all effort was taken for his recovery and healing, but it was in vain. For, after so much travelling and worrying, he journeyed off to his eternal rest and was buried in the Church of the Oratorians. His widow, Geertje Davids, went to Brabant, provided with an annuity for life, and her son followed in the place of his father. But he was wounded and died.

Two cousins, JAN DONKER and PIETER DONKER, gave signs early on that they would have honoured their native city Gouda with their art were it not that that the lights of their lives, only just risen above the horizon, were fogged over by untimely dark clouds of death. By Jan once sees, painted in Gouda, the regents of the house of correction.

PIETER DONKER learned art in Antwerp with the famous Jacob Jordaens I and travelled to France to continue his art amongst the crowd and onrush of foreigners who came to attend the coronation of Emperor Leopold I. In the next year, 1659, he travelled to France and then in the train of the Duke de Crequi [= Charles III de Créquy] to Rome, where he passed his time diligently drawing and painting. After seven years had passed he returned to his city of birth and died in 1668.

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It rarely happens that so many painters originate in one family as in that of the EVERDINGEN. Because one counts three brothers, CAESAR, Allaert and Jan, and by Allaert still another trio of sons, Cornelis van Everdingen, Pieter van Everdingen and Jan van Everdingen II, who all more or less practiced art.

CAESAR van EVERDINGEN should have been placed in 1606 [= 1616] by virtue of that year of birth, but as the necessary news from Alkmaar, his native city, only arrived when the biography of his brother Allaert lay ready for the printing press, we were only able to place him before the latter. He was a commendable figure painter and had a flattering brush.

Amongst many of his art works are praised the painted doors of the great organ in the church in Alkmaar, on which he had had depicted the triumph of David over the slaying of the great Goliath of Gath [4]. I do not know in what year he painted this, but I do know that he made the model on the home of the architect Jacob van Campen (who ordered the organ) in the year 1648. This model now still hangs in the Alkmaar city hall. There is also a large and important piece of his to be seen in the old militia chambers which depicts the nobility and war council of the old civic guard [5]. The portraits are all life size and artfully painted, so that this one work was sufficient to make his fame last until after his death (which occurred in the year 1679, when he was 73 years old).

He was a pupil of Jan van Bronchorst, whom we mentioned on page 231 of our first part.

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4
Caesar van Everdingen
Organ shutters with David's triumph: the women of Israel come out to welcome David, singing, dancing, and playing tambourines and lyres, complete in 1644
organ shutter, oil paint 9 x ? cm
Alkmaar, Grote of St. Laurenskerk (Alkmaar)

5
Caesar van Everdingen
Officers and standard-bearers of the Old Militias, dated 1657
canvas, oil paint 201,2 x 350,4 cm
upper left : ANO 1657
Alkmaar, Stedelijk Museum Alkmaar, inv./cat.nr. 20935


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And amongst the students that he turned into masters in art are counted Hendrik Graauw of Hoorn, Adriaen Warmenhuyzen of Warmenhuizen, Adriaen Jansz. Decker and Laurens van Oosthoorn.

His youngest brother, JAN van EVERDINGEN I, also born in Alkmaar, practiced the painting of still life and that more out of love of art than for profit, seeing that he had another occupation, to wit as advocate at litigations.

ALLAERT van EVERDINGEN, second son of the confidential clerk Jan van Everdingen and brother of the painter Cesar van Everdingen, was born in Alkmaar in 1621. As art teachers he first had Roelant Savery and then Pieter de Molijn of Haarlem [= Pieter Mulier I ?], under whose supervision he progressed so much in art that they were not ashamed to greet him as their student. Many praiseworthy works of art spread out amongst the art lovers of Amsterdam and elsewhere will always attest to his having been a great master in art, not just in a single part but competent in general, for one sees landscapes by him with animals and figures wonderfully handsomely painted, and thickly planted forests, which the eye can't penetrate because of their depth with the clustered blossoms painted so playfully and friskily that they appear to waft in the air, and waterfalls, and sea storms in which the breaking of the seawater against the hard rocks, and the thinly dissipated spray have been observed so finely and inventively that the works could pass for masterpieces. But he especially excelled

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at the painting of northern landscapes, since by a certain accident he found opportunity to make drawings after life. For after setting sail for some cities in the Baltic Sea, he ran into a dangerous storm, which, willing or not, caused him, not undamaged, to land on the coast of Norway. The natural aspects of the same land he also observed in coloured drawings, of which the art-loving Mister Jeronimus Tonneman has several in his art cabinet. His portrait appears in Plate D. 1.

He was diligent in painting, meticulous in church attendance and not lacking is good sense. He died, the course of his life having ended, in November 1675, and left three sons, of whom two turned to the practice of art and the middle one, named Pieter, still lives.

It was to be wished that our EVERDINGEN had not so often worn down his brush on large canvasses which are often in the way and looked at askance now that fashion is everywhere importing tapestries and other shining rags (the plague of art). Which sad fate sometimes also befalls the commendable brushwork of

ADAM PIJNACKER (who was born in the year 1621 in the village of Pijnacker, located between Schiedam and Delft), so that if he were ever to pop his head out of his grave, he would curse all that junk with which people now cover their rooms, seeing that his painted chamber canvasses are being rolled up, to move to the attic forever, because fashion has rented the room out of season.

He spent three years in Italy to continue his art after commendable models, which

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time he spent diligently both with drawing after life and with painting.

Happier than his large works are his more summarily painted scenes, since these, placed on wall paper and in art cabinets, hold their value. I have seen some of them in which a forest with dense trees appears, skilfully, naturally and amusingly painted, with here a copse of trees in blue shadow, there penetrating sunlight which paints the green meadows with glowing shimmer, of which the one sets off the other, creating space. It would be pointless to say more about this since the commendable poet Pieter Verhoek describes the power of the art of his brush in connection with one of his painted rooms, and renders it according to its worth with his poet’s pen:

Thus the sturdy brush wins ground, now all the walls
Of
the room are painted with artful bowers,
And green forests are lit by a morning sun,
Which
splendidly descends from the horizon to the wild vegetation,
Creates the day,
so that he who understands art is excited,
And thinks he is looking at Italy with his eyes.
Thus saw ruler Hannibal, descended from the Alps,
A golden harvest painted by a
kind nature,
And stirred up the soldiers by
the sight of the beautiful lands.
While that amusement for the eye had the lust salivate.
One finds the art of arrangement naturally understood here.
The foreground is richly loaded with herbs and trunks
And executed, when the eye first comes to behold it.
One
then sees the terrain fade away more and more.

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And shrink miles away, until there the pale azure
Of the mountains is painted with the glow of the sun’s fire.
.
. . . . . . .
Here the cliff stretches its crown to
the heavens, wildly covered
With hedges,
brushwood and brambles, loosely choked by ivy,
One
notices how nicely nature mixes using colours;
How mild she extends her jewels even to stones;
While a whole
stream descends from on high,
The water rustles and froths
and sprays like rain.
The silver stream moistens the dales, streams a blessing
Of fertility to them; the half-wilted green
Creates life, grows and flowers, in the noblest season.
The tree bark
coarse with moss covers the oak, which quietly
Lasts three centuries,
and shows itself green and lusty,
Just as the birch is known by its bark:
Their
crowns, brown and close, covered with leaves
Shade the ground, and reject
Phoebus’ rays.
The shepherd
warbles in these green dales,
And plays a rural song, at the
three-forked road, where the sound
Reflects a
double echo, and imitates his flute,
While the cow, goat and sheep
fill themselves.
.
. . . . . . .
I believe I will soon walk through
playful wildernesses
Of lush herbs, and hear the rustling of the leaves.
All that gratifies the eyes laughs lovingly at us;
Thus
PIJNACKER’s art brush defies tapestries,
Of which
the colours, lame and stiff and hard, quickly wear;
Just as
bitter envy pales at the man’s existence.
Here Mister
Cornelis Backer,* when the trees are bare of leaves,


--------

* Cornelis, alderman, councilman and governor of the East-India Company in Amsterdam.

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And the field bare of grass stands frosted, covered with dunes
Of
windblown snow, can observe these crowns rich with leaves
Green with
foliage, a summer for the eye.
Here he can, exhausted by care of state, the bow again
Relaxed, enjoy this reflection
[6-8].

He died in the year 1673, but the fame acquired by his brush and this portrait placed in Plate D. 2, continue to last.

Next to him appears the commendable painter CORNELIS de MAN, born in Delft in the year 1621. The craving to see foreign lands and the famous brushwork of the greatest masters soon spurred him on to travel. Paris was the first city in which he stopped to practice his art, but because of the attraction of Rome he did not remain there for longer than a year, when he travelled on to Lyon and from there to Lombardy in Italy. In Florence he got the opportunity to practice the art of his brush for a great nobleman in whose service he remained for two years, until he left for Rome, where he practiced for years after renowned models. From there he left for Venice, where he did not lack in patrons who richly rewarded his art.

When he had fed at foreign hearths for nine consecutive years, he headed back to his fatherland and took his return journey over the Alps and then through other cities to his native city of Delft, where he left examples of his commendable art (after death cut the thread of his life in 1706, without leaving behind a grieving widow or children).

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6
Adam Pijnacker
Mountainous landscape in the evening, with a cow and a goat in the foreground, c. 1665
canvas, oil paint 303 x 267 cm
lower right : APynacker
Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, inv./cat.nr. 1686

7
Adam Pijnacker
Landscape with a waterfall and two men fishing for lobster, c. 1665
canvas, oil paint 297 x 270 cm
lower left : APynacker
Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, inv./cat.nr. 1685


8
Adam Pijnacker
Landscape with Sportsmen and Game, c. 1665
canvas, oil paint 137,8 x 198,7 cm
below, right of the middle : APijnacker
Dulwich (London), Dulwich Picture Gallery, inv./cat.nr. DPG86


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