Cornelis Cornelisz van Haarlem

  • 1562 - 1638
  • Artist
  • Dutch

Born to a wealthy family, Cornelis Cornelisz. van Haarlem trained locally in Haarlem, then traveled to Rouen, France, in 1579. After perhaps a year of study in Antwerp, he returned to Haarlem. Cornelisz.'s first official commission, a militia company portrait, brought him great acclaim. A milestone in Dutch group depictions, it influenced Frans Hals and later Amsterdam painters with its liveliness and variety. Around this time, Cornelisz., Karel van Mander, and Hendrick Goltzius founded the "Haarlem Academy," which provided the opportunity to draw from live models and plaster casts. Before this time, no Dutch artists studied the nude, but Cornelisz. made the naked figure the principal motif of his drawings. Scholars are uncertain whether or not he drew from life.

In 1588 Goltzius's engravings after five of Cornelisz.'s paintings made him famous. He produced many drawings for prints in the next fifteen years. Cornelisz. was later named the city painter of Haarlem and helped reorganize Haarlem's Guild of Saint Luke in 1630, eliminating its medieval organization and elevating the status of the artists.