The History of Art And The Curious Lives of Famous Painters
Pieter de Hooch
technique - oil on linen or oak panel
Pieter de Hooch lived during a time of relative artistic freedom compared to the previous centuries. Dutch artists of the 18th century were no longer dependent upon the church or royalty for commissions. The newly prosperous middle class were eager customers.
Distinguished art historian and author, John C. Van Dyke, observed "Pieter de Hooch
was a painter of purely pictorial effects, beginning and ending a picture in a scheme of color, atmosphere, clever composition, and above all the play of light-and-shade. He was one of the early masters of full sunlight, painting it falling across a court-yard or streaming through a window with marvelous truth and poetry. His subjects were commonplace enough. An interior with a figure or two in the middle distance, and a passage-way leading into a lighted background were sufficient for him. These formed a skeleton which he clothed in a half-tone shadow, pierced with warm yellow light, enriched with rare colors, usually garnet reds and deep yellows repeated in the different planes, and surrounded with a subtle pervading atmosphere. As a brushman he was easy but not distinguished, and often his drawing was not correct; but in the placing of color masses and in composing by color and light he was a master of the first rank. Little is known about his life. He probably formed himself on Fabritius or Rembrandt at second-hand, but little trace of the latter is apparent in his work. He seems not to have achieved much fame until late years, and then rather in England than in his own country.
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