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  •   Pieter de  Hooch 


    Birth Year : 1629
    Death Year : 1688
    Country :

    Pieter de Hooch, an important genre painter of interior domestic scenes, was born on the outskirts of Rotterdam, the son of a village butcher who fancied himself a painter. De Hooch was a pupil of Berchem, in Haarlem, until the age of twenty-three, when he became "painter and lackey" to a wealthy and eccentric Delft merchant. Delft was the city of the artist's greatest happiness and finest work. Here he married the daughter of a master fa´ence-maker and knew both Fabritius, Rembrandt's best pupil, and Vermeer. His works show the influence of Berchem in the boxlike construction that his teacher borrowed from Claude Lorrain; from Fabritius he learned an elaborate use of perspective; and from Vermeer, he learned the use of light, that in de Hooch's work is golden rather than silvery.

    De Hooch's interiors are softly warm in color and quiet in atmosphere. Space in his paintings is handled in definite planes divided by walls and doors, receding in perspective and variously lit through windows on different levels. He was particularly skilled in painting the glow of filtered sunshine. De Hooch was deeply distressed when his wife died in 1667, and he moved to Amsterdam, where he began to paint fashionable scenes of the more sophisticated affluent society in the larger city. Thus, as many other Dutch painters had done, de Hooch ceded to popular demand in order to earn a livelihood. De Hooch's straightforward style and unassuming temperament did not lend themselves to the new subjects (which he continued to paint until his death at an unknown date after 1688), and they are less satisfying than the middle-class interiors of his life in Delft.

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