Govaert Flinck

Dates1615 - 1660
BornCleve, Germany
DiedAmsterdam, The Netherlands

A draper's son from Cleve, Germany, Govaert Flinck first studied in the northern Netherlands with painter, dealer, and Mennonite preacher Lambert Jacobsz., whose manner resembled that of Pieter Lastman. There Flinck met Jacob Backer, who deeply influenced the young artist's early style.

In 1633, armed with practical and technical skills, Flinck moved to Amsterdam, studying with Rembrandt van Rijn until 1636. He became so absorbed in Rembrandt's approach that some of Flinck's paintings from the 1630s have been confused with those of Rembrandt.

Like many other Dutch painters during the 1640s and 1650s, Flinck began making his portraits more elegant and brightening his palette under the spell of Flemish artists such as Anthony van Dyck. After imbuing an allegorical painting for Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg, with the then-fashionable Baroque ideas of pathos and pomp, Amsterdam's citizens thronged to him for portraits. The new style also brought strong demand for allegorical scenes for palaces and public buildings. Flinck received important commissions for Huis ten Bosch, a royal residence, and the new Amsterdam town hall. In 1659 he was commissioned with twelve large paintings for the city's great civic hall, but he died soon after signing the contract.