World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Gerard van Honthorst

Gerard van Honthorst in Het Gulden Cabinet p 165

Gerard van Honthorst (Gerrit van Honthorst) (4 November 1592 – 27 April 1656)[1] was a Dutch Golden Age painter. Early in his career he visited Rome, where he had great success painting in a style influenced by Caravaggio. Following his return to the Netherlands he became a leading portrait painter.


  • Early life 1
  • Italy 2
  • Return to Utrecht 3
  • Royal patronage 4
  • Legacy 5
  • Gallery 6
  • References 7
  • Sources 8
  • External links 9

Early life

Gerard van Honthorst - Granida and Daifilo
The Concert, 1623, National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.)
The Matchmaker, showing the use of Carravagesque
Musical Group on a Balcony

Honthorst was born in Utrecht, the son of au decorative painter, and trained under his father, and then under Abraham Bloemaert.[2]


Having completed his education, Honthorst went to Italy, where he is first recorded in 1616.[2] He was one the artists from Utrecht who went to Rome at around this time, all of whom were to be deeply influenced by the recent art they encountered there. They were named Montecompatri, and at Santa Maria della Vittoria in Rome. He also worked for Cosimo II de' Medici, the Grand Duke of Tuscany.[1]

Return to Utrecht

Honthorst returned to Utrecht in 1620, and went on to build a considerable reputation both in the Dutch Republic and abroad.[2] In 1623, the year of his marriage, he was president of the Guild of St. Luke in Utrecht. He soon became so fashionable that Sir Dudley Carleton, then English envoy at The Hague, recommended his works to the Earl of Arundel and Lord Dorchester. In 1626 Honthorst hosted a dinner for Rubens, and painted him as the honest man sought for and found by Diogenes.

Royal patronage

Queen Duke of Buckingham as Mercury and guardian of the King of Bohemia's children. He painted a more intimate group portrait of The Four Eldest Children of the King of Bohemia, (also at Hampton Court) in which the two eldest are depicted as Diana and Apollo.

After his return to Utrecht, Honthorst retained the patronage of the English monarch, painting for him, in 1631, a large picture of the king and queen of Bohemia and all their children. At around the same time he painted some pictures illustrating the Odyssey for Lord Dorchester, and some showing incidents of Danish history for Christian IV of Denmark. He also painted a portrait of the king's daughter Countess Leonora while she was in the Hague.

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.[2] These large studios, where the work included making replicas of Honthorst's royal portraits, employed a large number of pupils and assistants;[2] according to one pupil, Joachim von Sandrart, describing his experiences in the mid-1620s, Honthorst would have about 24 students at any one time, each paying 100 guilders a year for their education.[4]

His brother Willem van Honthorst (1594–1666) was also a portrait painter. Many of Willem's paintings were previously misattributed to Gerrit due to the similarity if their signatures. Willem was a pupil of Abraham Bloemaert, and was also taught by his own elder brother. In 1646 he went to Berlin, where he became court painter to Louise-Henriette, wife of the elector Frederick II of Brandenburg. He returned to Utrecht in 1664.[5]


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.

Some of his most notable pieces were portraits of the Duke of Buckingham and his family (Hampton Court), the King and Queen of Bohemia (Hanover and Combe Abbey), Marie de Medici (Amsterdam Stadthuis), 1628, the Stadtholders and their Wives (Amsterdam and The Hague), Charles Louis and Rupert, Charles I's nephews (Musée du Louvre, St Petersburg, Combe Abbey and Willin), and Baron Craven (National Portrait Gallery, London). His early style can be seen in the Lute-player (1614) in the Louvre, the Martyrdom of St John in Santa Maria della Scala at Rome, or the Liberation of Peter in the Berlin Museum.

His 1620 The Adoration of the Shepherds in the

  • Works by Gerrit van Honthorst
  • Picture gallery at WGA
  • The Laughing ViolinistReproduction of (French)
  • Works and literature at PubHist
  • Vermeer and The Delft School, an exhibition catalog from The Metropolitan Museum of Art (fully available online as PDF), which contains material on Gerard van Honthorst
  • Dutch and Flemish paintings from the Hermitage, an exhibition catalog from The Metropolitan Museum of Art (fully available online as PDF), which contains material on Gerard van Honthorst (cat. no. 12)

External links


  1. ^ a b c Brown, Beverley Louise, ed. (2001). "Gerrit Hermnsz. van Honthorst". The Genius of Rome 1592-1693. London: Royal Academy of Arts. p. 380. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Brown (1997), p.62
  3. ^ Brown (1997), p.32
  4. ^ Brown (1997), p.46
  5. ^ "James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose, 1612–1650. Royalist". National Gallery of Scotland. Retrieved 21 November 2012. 
  6. ^ Delavaux, Celine (2012). The Impossible Museum: The Best Art You'll Never See. Prestel. pp. 86–9.  
  7. ^ November 22, 2013.Washington Post.Boyle, Katherine. "National Gallery Acquires 'The Concert' by Dutch Golden Age Painter Honthorst." Accessed 2013-11-22.



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. The painting has not been on view since 1795. The 1.23-by-2.06-metre (4.0 by 6.8 ft) The Concert will go on display for the first time in 218 years in a special installation at the National Gallery of Art's West Building on November 23, 2013. It will remain there for six months before going on permanent display in the museum's Dutch and Flemish galleries.[7]


This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.