Aert de Gelder

Dates1645 - 1727

Aert de Gelder built a career practicing Rembrandt van Rijn's style. From 1661 to 1663 De Gelder was one of Rembrandt's last students in Amsterdam. He returned to his native Dordrecht in Holland, but the experience was unforgettable. Painting principally biblical subjects and portraits, de Gelder retained Rembrandt's naturalness, sympathy, and human warmth. Like those of his master, de Gelder's Old Testament scenes display strong, warm color; Oriental types and costumes; and interest in the scenes' human aspect. To vary textures, de Gelder applied paint with his thumb, fingers, and palette knife. He also scraped and scratched into the wet paint with the butt end of his brush, a technique he probably learned from Rembrandt. Over time, de Gelder gave Rembrandt's palette a Rococo flavor by lightening it and using pinks and violets.

While de Gelder's contemporaries recognized him as Rembrandt's best pupil and closest follower, they also considered him an eccentric living in the past, using broken dabs of color when smooth surfaces and elegance were the chief aims of Rococo art. De Gelder's fame was local and had little influence on the course of Dutch painting.