Houbraken Translated

RKD STUDIES

Volume 3, page 360-369


Page 360

indifferent to where he was, as he counted himself amongst the citizens of the world.

By the way, it should also be observed that he did not always hold to one way of painting, but that he sometimes let his brush glide after the wind of profit, now in the manner of Rembrandt and then in the manner of Cornelis van Poelenburch, Jacob van Ruisdael and others, so that his works have often been sold as real pieces by these masters.

After he had wandered around the Dutch world on his water horse for several consecutive years, he developed an urge to take a trip to England by sea with it, but remembering his last dangerous shipwreck he decided to ship his family on another conveyance, saying that should such a disaster happen to him again, he alone would be unfortunate. He undertook it and fortunately arrived in England, where he still lives and practices art.

His son Robert Griffier, who was born to him in England on the 7th of October of 1688, is no less outstanding in his art than his father. He was not with him at sea when he suffered shipwreck, but in Ireland, but he later came to Holland and since his father’s departure has remained in Amsterdam, where he still practices art with great fame and makes himself renowned with the painting of Rhine prospects full of bustle of handsome figures and other decorations in the manner of Herman Saftleven.

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JAN BAPTIST HUYSMANS, a handsome landscape painter, was born in Antwerp in the year 1656. He brought great depth and vision to his brush works and decorated them with witty figures and animals.

In the same year 1656 the famous painter of portraits, Guilelmus, also known as WILLEM WISSING, was born in The Hague.

His first teacher of art was Willem Doudijns, with whom he remained for several years until (in addition to the art of drawing) he also understood the handling of paints. After that he went to England (because he was inclined to portrait painting) to continue to practice under the supervision of Peter Lely, which worked well for his happiness and fame. He improved so greatly in art that he became first court painter of King James II, who also sent him (after his daughter Mary had married Willem III, Prince of Orange and Stadholder of Holland) from London to The Hague, to paint both their portraits after life [1-2].

He was considered to be the best portrait painter of his time, and that his rising art-sun of the dawn of his life shone so brightly in the eyes of the envious has made many believe that he was sent to the Elysian Fields by way of poison. We will not go into that. But he died on the estate of the Earl of Essex outside London on the 10th of February [= September] of the year 1687, only 37 [= 31] years old. That is why one reads below his bust scraped by John Smith [3]

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1
Willem Wissing after Peter Lely
Portrait of Willem III van Oranje-Nassau (1750-1702), 1685
canvas, oil paint 124,6 x 102,5 cm
lower right : W: Wissing: fecit
Great Britain, The Royal Collection, inv./cat.nr. RCIN 405644

1
Willem Wissing
Portrait of Mary II Stuart (1662-1695), 1685
canvas, oil paint 125,9 x 101,9 cm
center right : W: Wissing / fecit
Great Britain, The Royal Collection, inv./cat.nr. RCIN 404449


1
John Smith after Willem Wissing
Portrait of Willem Wissing (1656-1687), 1687 or later
paper, mezzotint 340 x 250 mm
Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, inv./cat.nr. RP-P-1962-213


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Immodicis brevis est aetas.

That is:
Exceptional artists do not live long.

Next to him the commendable horse and battle painter DIRK MAAS comes onstage. He was born in Haarlem on the 12th of September of 1656. His first teacher of art was Hendrick Mommers, who usually painted Italian vegetable markets. He was from Haarlem and died in 1697 in his 74th year. After that he went to Nicolaes Berchem, whose way of painting and subjects he liked better. Finally, through association with Johan van Huchtenburg, he surrendered entirely to horse painting.

Here also appears the commendable landscape painter GUILLIAM de HEUSCH on stage, along with his nephew Jacob de Heusch, who at first imitated his uncle’s handling to such a degree that no difference could be discerned between them. For that reason when Jacob de Heusch arrived in Rome the bent-named him Reprint.

Guilliam de Heusch was a student of the famous Jan Both and painted his landscapes entirely the same way as his master. He passed many years in Rome and elsewhere in Italy with drawing and painting. Later he died in Utrecht, where he was born, at a ripe old age, but I don’t know in what year.

JACOB de HEUSCH was born in Utrecht in the year 1657. He showed aptitude for art from the beginning

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and, spurred on by his uncle, applied himself to this with so much desire and alacrity that he overtook said uncle on the trail (despite a good head start). Then wanderlust drove him to Rome, where he lived as elsewhere in Italy for several years, continuing to practise after the best models. But he changed his way of painting to that of Salvator Rosa, especially for his figures. He also painted horses, cows and other cattle most inventively, since he understood the art of drawing thoroughly and had long drawn after life at the academy.

He was a well-built young man, intelligent, not devoid of judgment, well-spoken, farcical and inventive in his answers, always happy in nature, and beloved in all company. It pleases us to relate a sample in confirmation of what is said. When he painted in Venice with Mister Lucatello, Secretary of the Senate, it happened that the mentioned gentleman would ride to his summer mansion. One of the horses repeatedly stubbing its horseshoe lost it, since the road was altogether covered in stones, so that the horse began to limp. Noticing this the coachman stopped the carriage and reported it to his master, who at once jumped out, lifted the leg of the horse, and mumbled some half-swallowed words of incantation over it, at which our painter had to laugh so hard that he shook. The gentleman, turning around, said: do you laugh at that? Or don't you believe that such things have power? It has often been established that it works. After which De Heusch began to laugh all the more and finally said: Dear Sir, if that

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oath has such power that it can harden the hoof of a horse, I am astonished that there is still a blacksmith to be found in Italy.

After he had practiced art for some consecutive years in Venice, and also in Rome, and had spent many a jolly evening with the bentvogels, he again came to live in Utrecht with his brother, the postmaster.

After some time living there he was approached by Mister Tailler [= Johan Teyler], former professor of mathematics of the illustrious school in Nijmegen, who gave him reason to hope that he might enter the service of the court in Berlin through Mister Dankelman [= Eberhard von Danckelman]. So they headed there, but that attempt did not succeed and ended fruitlessly, even though he had already begun a beautiful view of that court on canvas, because Mister Danckelman fell out of favour at the court. He let others reassure him with hope for a while, after which, thinking of the Italian saying which says: Allowing people to hope is politeness; to rely on their recognition erkentenis is bad, for it is inherent in recognition to think of hope, found cause to leave as quickly as possible, all the more so because his fellow traveller Johannes Teyler, otherwise known as Speculation, seeing his intention frustrated, took it so badly that he got confusion of the brain, which became ever more obvious. For one morning he arrived at de Heusch's place, told him that his life was being threatened and requested that he undertake the journey to Holland in all haste, and to put on his clothes. De Heusch, who noticed at once what was amiss and that his fellow traveller was not quite right in the head, said

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while laughing: do you want them to break my neck instead of yours? He sought and found an opportunity to hurry back to the Bishopric, practising his art, most of which was sent off to Italy.

He was not the most productive man, though wonderfully deft and vigorous in his brush work, because he rarely painted in the late afternoons, which, along with the evenings, served him for relaxation. And if he was inclined to prolong it a little further, he sometimes went to visit his acquaintances in Amsterdam and elsewhere.

His last pleasure trip to Amsterdam, which brought him his death, is about to be mentioned.

The month of May served him as blood month, had come when de Heusch nodded his last farewell to the Bishopric (unaware of what would happen to him), to divert himself a little with his friends and fellows in art in Amsterdam. What happens? He who had been wetting his whistle for some days now, sets out for the dance, thirsting for novelty and without taking rest, by which he so fatigued himself that he was forced to rest forever.

That same afternoon he met Albert van Spiers, also known as the Pyramid, whom he asked to join the company for old times' sake, seeing that Spiers was also acquainted with Jan van der Keere, then a gold-thread worker, who had invited him. De Heusch insisted strongly with him, but he who would otherwise let himself be pulled with a straw, as the saying goes, refused, saying

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he was not in the mood for drinking. So that de Heusch left for the company alone.

It has been observed that a short while earlier De Heusch had been in a carriage when it overturned and he hurt his chest, but he paid no more attention to this. When, quite late in the evening, having drunk heavily, and about to go to bed, he began to vomit prodigiously, and, because of this, to spit blood.

One surmises that he must have suffered internal injury to his chest from that fall, which burst out with the enormous pressure from vomiting. But be that as it may, he died on the 9th of May of 1701. His corpse was transported from Amsterdam to Utrecht, and buried there.

Willem van der Hoeven made the following elegy in his memory:

What fierce murderous shaft had death forged anew:
Which hit Rhine, Tiber and Amstel with sorrow,
When he hit the chest of the head of artists?
The saddened
goddess of art covers her dishevelled hair,
And neck, and face, with sad mourning dress,
Since this great loss touches her heart deeply.
Mourn freely goddess!
Sprinkle with tears mouth and cheeks,
Sorrow had not
overcome your soul without reason:
I have taken up my pen
of sorrow because of your heavy loss.
It floats
trembling on the wet sprinkled sheet,
And shares as deeply as ever in your miserable paints,
Now that implacable death has defeated your
soul mate,
Torn him
out of your arm, alas too unexpectedly!
Who would have brought all of Italy to the Netherlands

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With his brush. Let us erect a column
For him who fearlessly dared combat Salvator
And competed for the laurels
placed on Rosa’s head.
At the end he continues as follows:
All of Utrecht melts in sorrow, the Rhine feels the suffering,
It backs up and curses fate for
nastiness and cruelty:
Now I have seen this beloved corpse lowered in the grave?
What body
can hold such a great spirit?
My sun is extinguished,
de Heus is gone.

PHILIP TIDEMAN was born in Hamburg on the 22nd of December [= September] 1657, produced by commendable parents in whose footsteps he followed. They had him learn the Latin language (as all outstanding citizens are wont to do there). But the hidden flame of art broke out in his twelfth year, which his parents discerned against their will, as they had other things in mind for him. But his father (considering that the art of painting can not only make a man esteemed, but also esteemed it as one of the most honest practices, seeing that one does not enrich oneself in a dishonourable manner) found himself persuaded and placed him to this end with the painter Nicolaes Raes, with whom he had advanced so far in art with the passing of eight years that he no longer needed apron strings but was able to paint on his own and nurture students. This lasted only fully a year when, paying less heed to the advantages than to progress

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in art, he decided to move to Amsterdam, then provided with commendable artists, so as by studying their art works as also by association with them, to complete his ideas with great conceptions, seeing that he was set on the depiction of histories, in which Gerard de Lairesse especially stood out, whose instruction he sought out. But this lasted only a half year. He then went to live on his own and received commissions for various works.

Lairesse, overloaded with work and taking pleasure in Philip’s brush handling, tempted him back, giving him board and a certain sum of money annually to have him help paint on ceilings and niches, but after the passing of two years (some squabble having arisen between them) they parted from each other forever.

From the beginnings on (fortune favouring him) he got his hands full of work, so that he settled there as citizen and set out to marry.

Among his important art works are known the organ in the old Lutheran Church [4].

The back room of Mister Johannes van Droogenhorst.

With Mister solicitor Isaac de Vlieger the front house and room painted from below.

With the Lord Burgomaster Verschuur in Hoorn there are three rooms downstairs, including chimney pieces, of which the first, inside a graceful oval frame, depicts Venus complaining to Jupiter about the injustice done to her son by Juno. The corners of this room, decorated with figures,

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4
Philip Tideman
Organ shutters for the Lutheran Church in Amsterdam, 1692
panel, oil paint ? x ? cm
Middelburg (Zeeland), Nieuwe Kerk (Middelburg)


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show in the first corner, Aeneus carrying his old father out of the fire, as well as personifications of Piety and Bravery.

In the second corner stands Juno as she comes to Aeolus, requesting him to bring forth the storm winds to destroy the fleets, and in addition Partiality and Falsehood are present.

In the third corner one sees Aeolus releasing the winds, which fiercely attack the Trojan fleet, and beside them Anger and Cruelty.

In the fourth is depicted how Turnus sets fire to the fleet, and how his followers are transformed into sea nymphs by the sorcery of Cybele, in addition to images of Danger and Succour.

We would violate the method of our way of writing if we were to list his multitude of chimney pieces, niches in portals, and garden decorations. We have to commemorate one because of a certain incident, located in the garden house of Mister Christiaan van Hoek in his Residence on the Vecht River, which Philip skilfully decorated on the inside with allegories in niches and other fine things. This work, having begun a little late in the year 1696, did not come to a halt until the canal was covered with ice. Smit, who also painted there and marbled the lintels and the framework, had his skates with him. Tideman who was not equipped for this, was to hold onto him tight and tag on behind him on the slippery ice. But this did not work. Thus it was decided that Tideman would wrap himself in his cloak and that Smit would hold on to the slip, thus dragging him across the ice. They arrived safely in Amsterdam but the good Tideman complained about the adventure, for when, having arrived

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