Gerbrand van den Eeckhout

Dates1621 - 1674

According to Dutch biographer Arnold Houbraken, Gerbrand van den Eeckhout was both pupil and "great friend" of Rembrandt van Rijn. The son of a goldsmith, Van den Eeckhout probably studied with Rembrandt in the latter half of the 1630s. The compositional principles of Rembrandt's teacher Pieter Lastman, known for his theatrical realism and illusionism, also strongly affected him. Rembrandt may have encouraged Van den Eeckhout to study Lastman's technique, for Rembrandt owned a number of his master's works.

Van den Eeckhout adapted his style according to the genre in which he was working. Throughout his career, his history paintings reflected Rembrandt's style in their broad execution, chiaroscuro effects, and narrative qualities. His detailed genre scenes, which he began depicting in the 1650s, anticipate works by Pieter de Hooch. Like so many of his Dutch contemporaries, Van den Eeckhout's portraits reflect the impact of Flemish prototypes and are painted in a more elegant, lighter style than his history paintings. Van den Eeckhout frequently included portraits in historical scenes, a genre called portraits-histoirés. Van den Eeckhout's late history paintings most closely align him with Rembrandt's art through his use of chiaroscuro and color.