Gerard of the Night (Painter By Day)

[The Happy Musician (De Vrolijke Speelman) 108 x 89 cm Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam]

Dutch Golden Age artist, “Gerard of the Night” (Gerard van Honthorst, Gerrit van Honthorst) was born on 4th November 1592 in Utrecht. Early in his career he visited Rome, where he began to paint in a style which was influenced by Caravaggio. He stayed in Italy for 10 years before returning home. Following his return to the Netherlands, he became a leading portrait painter.

  • He is noted for his depiction of artificially lit scenes, eventually receiving the Italian nickname Gherardo delle Notti (“Gerard of the Night”).

With his portraits of ordinary folk such as the Happy Musician, he gained great fame in the Netherlands and Berlin where he was a court painter and influenced for a long time the stream of painting which has become known as the Utrecht School.

Obviously, Gerard of the Night, didn’t give up his day job!

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