Houbraken Translated


Volume 3, page 210-219

Page 210

The lot of time granted his contemporary and fellow artist ALBERT MEYERING a long life. Born in Amsterdam in the year 1645, he lived until the 17th of July of the year 1714, being around seventy years old by then, most of which time he spent in the service of art, since he was early led to brush practice because his father Frederick and his brother Hendrick Meyeringh also practiced art, though they spent their time painting unimportant subjects, namely mostly folding screens, and also carried on commerce in them.

Driven by curiosity, Albert spent about 10 years or so in Italy, where he practiced after handsome models with his travel companion Johannes Glauber. He had adopted a deft way of painting which was advantageous for him when painting large works in chambers and rooms. In between he painted all sorts of landscapes, especially graceful views of princely palaces and belvederes which, with their foliated trees, made a pleasant reflection in the water.

Now comes the commendable painter MICHIEL van MUSSCHER (whose portrait is to be seen in Plate F 16) on the stage. He was the pride of Rotterdam, born within its city walls on the 27th of January 1645.

With his fifth year he began to draw men and animals on paper, and that passion for drawing grew so much with the years that his parents, seeing the diligence increase more and more, placed him with


Page 211

Martinus Saeghmolen in the year 1660 to learn the fundamentals of the art of drawing, where due to his exceptional effort and diligence he was so advanced in so little time that the next year they placed him (to learn the mixing of paints and handling of the brush) with the famous Abraham van den Tempel. He did not stay there for long, nor with Adriaen van Ostade and Gabriel Metsu, as became clear to me from an annotation that he made: Drew two months with Martyn Zaagmolen, with Abraham van den Tempel, 1665. Had seven art lessons from Gabriel Metsu, and in the year 1667, three months with Adriaen van Ostade, which added up is certainly a short time seeing how far he had advanced in art, which we have to attribute as much to his natural passion and diligent practice as to his teaching. That is why Aristotle was already able to say: Three things are necessary to arrive at knowledge, nature, instruction and practice, and unless practice is joined to nature and instruction, no fruit is to be expected.

In Amsterdam, where he spent most of his life in the practice of art, there are many artfully executed portrait by him to be seen, amongst which stands out in the art of painting that of art-loving Mister Jonas Witsen I, on which he spared neither time nor effort [1]. And that had its reason, seeing that mentioned gentleman was his greatest Christopher, who carried him so high on his shoulders that envy could not scratch him.

He also made various compositions and amongst these in various pieces


Michiel van Musscher
Portrait of a man. possibly Jonas Witsen I (1647-1675), dated 1666
Private collection

Page 212

the comical life of Jan Klaasze and Saartje Jans. But what stands out from everything else in art of painting is a so-called family piece in which he painted himself, his wife and his child, which mentioned Mister Witsen [= Jonas Witsen II] bought at the auction house when Musscher had died [2]. He had worked on it for a long time with effort as a sample of the powers of his brush. It now remains with his oldest son, whose portrait, still being young, is depicted in it.

He died on the 20th of June of 1705.

I read somewhere: That the nature of things so affects a given science that one cannot leave other arts and sciences untouched but must diligently extract from them all that can serve as embellishment and completion of the purpose that one has in mind; for no one excels in one science who is completely incompetent in another, all the arts and sciences being as if intertwined by a common bond.

One should not, therefore, keep within the bounds of one science, but sometimes graze in the pastures of other
sciences and arts.

This argument fits no one better than the famous draughtsman JAN de BISSCHOP, born in The Hague in the year 1646.

He was a learned advocate for the Noble Court of Holland, and also a lover and practitioner of art, who by his artful way of drawing with pencil on white paper, as well as by a practised hand at painting, was able to imitate every master's particular way of handling so artfully that one could see at once, with the first bat of an eye, if his drawing followed


Michiel van Musscher
Self portrait of Michiel van Musscher (1645-1705) with his family, c. 1694-1701
Antwerp, Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten Antwerpen


Page 213

a painting by Tintoretto, Bassano, Carracci, Paolo Veronese, Rubens, Van Dyck and so on, which is why he is held in great esteem by art lovers. Because of his remarkable way of drawing we have not only placed his name with the painters of his time but also his portrait in Plate H 19 (following a rendering by Jan de Baen) [3].

He also performed a particularly great service for students of art with his handsome etchings, by which he trains the youthful painter as if by steps to the advanced school of drawing, presenting to him the worthy and famous subjects of art that Rome possessed. It is regrettable that such ardent ambition was snuffed out after the passing of 40 years. For he died in the year 1686.

ARY HUIBERTSZ VERVEER was born in Dordrecht, but the time of his birth remains unknown to me. But he entered the artists’ society of Dordrecht together with Gerard de Jager, a Dordrecht sea and still water painter, Abraham Susenier, also from Dordrecht and a handsome painter of still life, especially silverwork, and Arnout Elsevier, a landscape and fire painter. He sometimes painted portraits, but mainly histories, and such that included many nudes. His pieces were best seen beyond arm's length because he painted a little bumpily and roughly. The biggest objection of the amateurs to his work was that he made the flesh too brownish in colour or paid no attention to the azure that shines through in a clearly painted nude, but was content if it had power, which is why he made much use of bone black. He


David Coster after Jan de Baen published by Gerardus Block
Portrait of Jan de Bisschop (1628-1671), c. 1731-1752
Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, inv./cat.nr. RP-P-OB-7668

Page 214

painted quite a lot, but one rarely saw something finished because he daily began something new, which is why his atelier and other adjoining rooms were so stuffed with canvasses and panels on which a nude or half a nude, a character study or also a composition was sketched, that it looked like the store of a canvas seller. Which is why his house (when it once burned to the ground in the wintertime), with all that flammable fuel, looked as if equipped like a fire ship at sea. That entire afternoon and into the evening he had been joined as company by Willem van Drielenburg, Johannes Offermans, a disciple of Adriaen van Eemont, and Arnoldus Verbuys, but it seemed that they paid more attention to whether each had emptied his cup than to the fire. The last mentioned was a commendable painter, but as quick as the wind. He worked for several consecutive years as portrait painter at the court of Friesland. He also painted histories, but what he was able to depict most naturally were whore and robbers’ dens, which he knew how to depict (I guess at the pure truth) with their dirty trade not glossed over, so that the paintings of shame seemed to require a curtain so as not to offend the respectable eye. JOHANNES OFFERMANS, born on the 10th of April of the year 1646, had previously got by with the painting of landscapes but later turned to the course brush, where it seems he best found most profit. However, he remained an art lover, sometimes traded in paintings, and liked to be in the company of artists, which is why (though his wife was in control of the money) he always made sure


Page 215

he kept a separate purse to hold a jolly evening. It happened that he received some money for his work and that the inn keeper poured him so much wine that he was barely able to get home. However, it came into his head that something unexpected might happen to him, of which he did not let his wife know the particulars. Thus he pinched by estimation something from the money bundle and rolled it up in a brush cloth specifically with the intention, upon returning home, to hide it elsewhere and not on his person, because his pockets were sometimes picked while he slept. This is what he did. But the next day he had forgotten in which place he had hidden it, which made him more than a little disquieted and had him seeking restlessly everywhere without being able to recall where he had hidden it. Thus he decided the following evening to deliberately again load his stomach full of wine to test if what he could not find while sober he might not recall when drunk, which happened. For he had hardly entered the door that evening and he remembered, whereupon he stuck his hand in the cutting board that hung reversed on the wall, and quietly took the booty out. He told me this himself.

He is followed by HUBERT van RAVESTEYN, born in Dordrecht. He usually painted sheepfolds and a farmer girl who scours a kettle or something else, or talks to a swain, or also the depiction of slaughter time, with a pig that hangs on a winch and boys who play with a bladder.


Page 216

REYNIER and ISRAEL COVYN from Brabant had that kind of ability in art. The first usually painted a table with all sorts of fruits of the earth, cabbage, carrots, turnips, artichokes, etc., and a maid with a basket of eggs or a copper pail with plucked birds on her arm, or also a damsel who sits sewing or doing needlework. The other painted histories, but mostly of the Spanisch heathen girl from the book by Jacob Cats. Although they say that he painted a good portrait in his youth but that, contrary to the proverb the older the wiser, he became the older, the more foolish as artist. When I knew him he was the oldest in the painters’ convent (because he had already been there in the year 1647) and I saw him for years on end on St. Luke’s day, decorated with a grape vine braided to a wreath on his head sitting at a table. This is still maintained as a custom.

Various examples have shown us that the natural desire and inclination are the sharpest spurs to encourage art practitioners to pursue art. Now we meet still another for whom natural passion was the most important lodestar to art.

This was JOHANNES GLAUBER, bent-named Polidor, was born in the year 1646 in Utrecht on the occasion that his parents intended to leave Amsterdam via the Bishopric for Germany (from whence they had come), which intention was curbed by his birth.

From his youth inclined to art with a burning passion, Glauber was frustrated in this by


Page 217

his father, who raised him for other activities, so that he was entirely unwilling to satisfy his inclination by placing him with a painter to learn art. This, however, did not prevent Johannes from practising drawing and painting when and where he could until he became acquainted with several outstanding painters, who (seeing his passion for art) further instructed him out of love only. Advanced by these means and by steady diligence so far that he could support himself, he placed himself with Nicolaes Berchem, where he remained nine months.

At that time Gerard Uylenburgh (having exchanged the brush for the art trade) was the greatest dealer in Italian paintings in Holland and kept several young painters at work. Johannes went to live with him and continued to practice after beautiful models which at the same time stirred a desire in him to go see Italy. He undertook this journey in the year 1671, accompanied by his brother, a lad of 15 years, and the two Van Doren brothers [= Huig van Dorre Wiltschut?]. They went by ship from Rotterdam to Dieppe and on to Paris, where he painted about a year for Monsieur Jean-Michel Picart, art buyer on the Pont-neuf and a flower painter born in Brabant. From there he left for Lyon, where he lived for two years and mainly painted for Adriaen van der Kabel. With the Roman Holy Year in progress at the time, he left Lyon for Rome with his brother and two French painters.

After he had been in Rome for a half year and had got to know Dutch and German painters, they tempted him to join the bent,


Page 218

where they baptized him as Coridon. But as he was aware that the young Van der Kabel had been given that name and mentioned this, they changed his name to Polidoor. But Karel du Jardin, with whom he probably associated most in Rome, did not wish to join the bentvogels, nor have himself registered, which is why they called him Goat Beard, either because he rarely shaved or out of anger, for which same reason they branded another painter with the bent name Crab Beard.

After our Glauber had been in Rome for two years he left for Padua, accompanied by his brother and the painter Robbert Duval. He remained there for a year and went from Padua to Venice, where he stayed for two years, daily practicing both after life and handsome models. From there he left for Hamburg, where he lived until the year 1684, with the exception of a half year in Copenhagen (summoned by Mister Guldenleeuw [= Ulrik Frederik Gyldenløve], Viceroy of Norway) and painted for the mentioned Viceroy. Returned to Amsterdam he lived with or had a room in the house of Gerard de Lairesse. Since that time he showed many outstanding examples of his art, both by the painting of cabinet pieces as by large works in rooms, whereby his name will live on for centuries, as he may be counted amongst the greatest landscape painters.

In the palace in Soesdijk he painted the dining room of Queen Mary with a lively landscape, as with the room of the King,


Johannes Glauber
Arcadian landscape with shepherds before a statue, c. 1678-1684
Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, inv./cat.nr. SK-A-1202

Johannes Glauber
Arcadian landscape with Jupiter and Io, C. 1678-1684
Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, inv./cat.nr. SK-A-1200

Johannes Glauber
Arcadian landscape with Salmacis and Hermaphroditus, c. 1678-1684
Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, inv./cat.nr. SK-A-1217

Johannes Glauber
Arcadian landscape with Mercuy and Io, c. 1678-1684
The Hague, Stichting Historische Verzamelingen van het Huis Oranje-Nassau

Johannes Glauber
Arcadian landscape with shepherds and a sarcophagus, c. 1678-1684, c. 1678-1684
The Hague, Rijksdienst Beeldende Kunst

Johannes Glauber possibly Gerard de Lairesse
Arcadian landscape with Adonis going hunting, c. 1678-1684
Middelburg (city, Zeeland), Gedeputeerde Staten van Zeeland

Johannes Glauber
Arcadian lansdcape with Diana bathing, c. 1678-1684
Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, inv./cat.nr. SK-A-119

Page 219

but Albert Meyering assisted him with that (since they were in a hurry). It was embellished with hunting scenes by Dirk Maas of Haarlem, and that of the Queen with figures by Gerard de Lairesse [4-10].

In Amsterdam, in the home of Mister Jacob de Flines, is a room in which the landscape was embellished in the same way with figures by Gerard de Lairesse [11-14], as also on the Achterburgwal in the brewery of the Hooiberg and also various ones in Rotterdam, as with Misters Jaques Meijers, Verburg and Adriaen Paets.

He now lives (married to the sister of the renowned architect Steven Vennekool) in the old age home in Schoonhoven, where he diverts himself with a pipe and his flower court.

His brother

JOHANN GOTTLIEB GLAUBER, born in 1656, was only 15 years old when he left for Paris with his brother. He was placed by his brother (who then left for Lyon) with a painter named Jacob Knijff, a native of Haarlem, who generally painted views of buildings and sea harbours with tiny figures (very pleasant looking). But as this Jacob Knijff had the opportunity to paint for some months for a count outside Paris, the innkeeper was worried about being paid because of this long absence and did not wish to continue giving the youth board. Because of this Glauber found himself necessitated to go to his brother in Lyon and then remained with him there, and then in Rome and all the years in Italy, and also later in Hamburg, until the year 1684, when his brother left for Amsterdam and he for Germany, where he painted for a German prince for some time.


and Gerard de Lairesse Johannes Glauber
Italian landscape with shepherds, c. 1687
Velsen-Zuid, Buitenplaats Beeckestijn

and Gerard de Lairesse Johannes Glauber
Italian landscape with two Roman soldiers, c. 1687
Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, inv./cat.nr. A 4215

and Gerard de Lairesse Johannes Glauber
Italianate landscape with three female figures making music, c. 1687
Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, inv./cat.nr. A 4214

and Gerard de Lairesse Johannes Glauber
Italian landscape met thre figures in the foreground, c. 1687
Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, inv./cat.nr. A 4116

Cookies disclaimer

Our site saves small pieces of text information (cookies) on your device in order to deliver better content and for statistical purposes. You can disable the usage of cookies by changing the settings of your browser. By browsing our website without changing the browser settings you grant us permission to store that information on your device.
I agree