Gerrit and his elder brother Job Berckheyde specialised in city views. While there are a few portraits known by Job, this is the only one by Gerrit.
The small statue of a naked boy at left, a typical painter's workshop prop, is by François Duquesnoy, a popular, Early Baroque, Flemish sculptor who was active in Rome.
About Gerrit Berckheyde
Haarlem 1638- 1698 Haarlem
Painter of town views.
Pupil of his elder brother Job (Haarlem 1630 – 1693 Haarlem), who had been a more versatile painter. Besides town views and genre scenes Job also painted some portraits, still lifes, church interiors and religious subjects. Job had been a pupil of Jacob I de Wet (Haarlem circa 1610 – 1675/1691 Haarlem) in Haarlem.
Their parents had seven children, Job was the eldest son, our Gerrit was born eight years later, the second youngest of the family. Their father was a butcher.
By the end of the 1650s both brothers travelled together to Germany, visiting and sketching several towns (Cologne, Mannheim and Bonn) and working in Heidelberg for the Elector of the Palatinate, Karl-Ludwig.
In July 1660 Gerrit was accepted as a Master in the Haarlem Painter’s Guild. His brother Job had been a member since 1654.
Gerrit specialised in city views: either true to life ones of his native Haarlem, of Amsterdam and of The Hague, or Italianate German townscapes that often contain imaginary elements.
Neither brother ever married. Both joined the same society of Rhetoricians ‘De Wijgaardranken’ (‘The Vine Branch’)in 1666. They lived since 1680 together in a house near the Saint Bavo church in Haarlem.
Job left for Amsterdam at the start of 1682.
Our Gerrit died by accidental drowning in Haarlem (in the Brouwersvaart) in June 1698, when he tried to take a shortcut after leaving the garden of the Haarlem art lover Alexander de Vos.
According to Arnold Houbraken, the biographer of Dutch 17th century painters, both brothers had different characters: Job was ambitious and impulsive, Gerrit was more modest and meticulous.
About the naked putto sculpture by François Duquesnoy
The conventional naked putto figure at left is clearly inspired by examples made by or after François Duquesnoy (Brussels 1597 – 1643 Livorno). This popular Flemish sculptor was active in Rome for most of his life. In Italy he was called Il Fiammingo, the French know him as François Flamand. In Rome his idealistic classicising style formed a Baroque counterpart for the more emotional and theatrical sculptures by Gianlorenzo Bernini.
His father was Hiëronymus Duquesnoy the Elder, who made the famous Manneken Pis fountain sculpture in Brussels in 1619, one year after his son had arrived in Rome.
About our painting
This is the only known portrait painted by Gerrit Berckheyde, while several are known by his brother Job. A fair number of good figure drawings are known by Gerrit, which he made as studies for the staffage with which he would enliven his townscapes.
Why should you buy this painting?
Because it is a one of kind: the only portrait-like genre scene by this specialist of town views.