Salomon de Bray

Dates1597 - 1664

Architect and painter Salomon de Bray spent nearly his whole life in Haarlem, where Mannerist artists Cornelis van Haarlem and Hendrick Goltzius were probably his first teachers. He painted mostly religious and mythological scenes, along with portraits, landscapes, and genre pictures. An active and accomplished draftsman, De Bray made architectural drawings and highly finished preliminary studies for paintings.

De Bray's artistic development is not well documented. In 1635 he seemed to favor half-length figures, which at that time had become rather old-fashioned. By about 1640, his work showed the influence of Rembrandt van Rijn's chiaroscuro. In the following decade, De Bray began incorporating classical compositions into his work, a style introduced two decades earlier by fellow townsman Pieter de Grebber.

De Bray played an important role in Haarlem's cultural projects and institutions. Unfortunately, many of his architectural designs were never carried out. He helped reorganize the Guild of Saint Luke in 1631, along with Pieter Molijn. Sensitive and intelligent, De Bray published a collection of love poems and a book on contemporary architecture.

In 1663 - 1664, the plague struck the De Bray family, killing both parents and four of their ten children. The surviving sons Jan, Dirck, and Joseph became painters.