Nicolaes Eliasz. Pickenoy

Dates1588 - 1650/1656

The son of a mason who made monuments in stone, Nicholaes Eliasz. Pickenoy may have studied painting with a leading portraitist in Amsterdam who was influenced by the rich colors and textures of painting in Antwerp. Though he painted other subjects, by 1624 Pickenoy was one of the most sought after portraitists in Amsterdam, a stature he retained until the arrival of young Rembrandt van Rijn. Later on, he lived next door to his competitor.

From his existing paintings, it appears that Pickenoy's style remained the same throughout his career: smooth technique, carefully depicted textiles, and sharp contours with softer shadows that together create an impression of flattering realism. Pickenoy painted group portraits as well as individual portraits, particularly pendants of prominent Amsterdammers. The Getty Museum's pair shows Pickenoy at the height of his abilities. After 1640 Pickenoy's popularity apparently began to fade, for only two of his works from this period survive. Stylistic similarities suggest that Pickenoy was the teacher of Bartholomeus van der Helst, who eventually surpassed Rembrandt as Amsterdam's most popular portrait painter.