In seventeenth-century Netherlands, distinguished men who wanted commemorative portraits of themselves-and it was the fashion to have one--commissioned sculptor Rombout Verhulst. He made dozens of them, particularly of naval heroes, and established a lucrative business as the Netherlands' premier sculptor of monuments to accomplished men.
Moving to Amsterdam in 1646, Verhulst worked under Flemish sculptor Artus Quellinus on the decoration of the Amsterdam Town Hall, one of the largest sculptural projects in that city. When Quellinus returned to Antwerp in 1665, Verhulst became the most prominent sculptor in the Netherlands. While residing in Leiden and then The Hague, Verhulst was engaged by a small but important network of private patrons in Holland. Jacob van Reygersbergh, a wealthy citizen with a well-established political career, and his family were probably instrumental in bringing Verhulst profitable commissions, such as the Getty Museum's bust of van Reygersbergh.
Verhulst's effigies and his portrait busts demonstrate his interest in naturalism, his delicate feel for texture and graceful treatment of drapery, and a sensitive handling of physiognomy that goes beyond the classicism of his contemporaries.