Gerard Dou

1613 (Leiden) - 1675 (Leiden)

by Jan Melkert

Gerard Dou, born in Leiden, was in 1628 mentioned as an apprentice of Rembrandt, who was at that time 22 years. When Rembrandt moved to Amsterdam, Dou settled as an independent master painter. Dou stayed and worked his whole life in Leiden. Of course Rembrandt as a master teacher had influence on Dou for instance the handling of the play of light. The precise, detailed way of painting, these elements on which the reputation of Dou is based, is also traceable in the works of the early Rembrandt. But where Rembrandt changed his way of painting, Dou held on to the precise manner. And he perfected it in such a way, that we can say that these two manners of painting are two mainstreams in 17th century painting. Rembrandt as a representative of the loose way of painting and Dou as a representative of the other, the precise way. Dou became the father of the so called Leidse school of “fijnschilders”. The popularity of the “fijnschilders” was increased and Dou could make a good living as a painter. During the life of Dou his works were already collected. Later in the 19th century and further on these painters received more critical reviews. The technique was too predominant, was one of the criticisms.

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