Gerrit Van Honthorst Netherlands

11-4-1592 Utrecht, NED – 4-27-1656 Utrecht, NED

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Honthorst, Gerrit Van

Gerrit van Honthorst trained under his father, and then under Abraham Bloemaert. Having completed his education, Honthorst went to Italy, where he is first recorded in 1616. In Rome he lodged at the palace of Vincenzo Giustiniani, where he painted Christ Before the High Priest. Giustiniani had an important art collection, and Honthorst was especially influenced by the contemporary artists, notably Caravaggio, Bartolomeo Manfredi and the Carracci.

He became especially noted for his depiction of artificially lit scenes, receiving the nickname "Gherardo delle Notti" (Gerard of the night).

Gerrit van Honthorst returned to Utrecht in 1620, and went on to build a considerable reputation both in the Dutch Republic and abroad. He soon became so fashionable that Sir Dudley Carleton, then English envoy at The Hague, recommended his works. Queen Elizabeth of Bohemia, sister of Charles I of England and Electress Palatine, then in exile in the Netherlands, commissioned Honthorst as a painter and employed him as a drawing-master for her children. Through her he became known to Charles, who invited him to England in 1628. There he painted several portraits, and a vast allegory. After his return to Utrecht, Honthorst retained the patronage of the English monarch.

His popularity in the Netherlands was such that he opened a second studio in the Hague, where he painted portraits of members of the court, and taught drawing.

His brother Willem van Honthorst (1594–1666) was also a portrait painter. Many of Willem's paintings were previously misattributed to Gerrit van Honthorst due to the similarity if their signatures.

Gerrit van Honthorst was a prolific artist. His most attractive pieces are those in which he cultivates the style of Caravaggio, often tavern scenes with musicians, gamblers and people eating. He had great skill at chiaroscuro, often painting scenes illuminated by a single candle.

Gerrit van Honthorst's 1623 The Concert was purchased for an undisclosed sum by the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., from a private collection in France in November 2013.

Movement: Baroque Art, Dutch Golden Age
Influences: Abraham Bloemaert, Caravaggio, Bartolomeo Manfredi
Traveled: Italy, England
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